October 19, 2017

WASHINGTON – Today, the Asian & Pacific Islander American Health Forum (APIAHF) released a statement on Sens. Alexander and Murray’s bipartisan Affordable Care Act (ACA) Marketplace stabilization plan. Their plan provides funding for both cost-sharing reductions (CSRs) and outreach for two years and also requires reporting on Marketplace enrollment, which has been important for tracking the progress of the ACA.

“We are pleased the Senate has refocused from repealing the ACA to improving consumer’s access to affordable health coverage,” said Kathy Ko Chin, APIAHF president and CEO. “The plan is a positive step that could undo some of the damage caused by the current administration, which has caused premiums to rise in a number of states, while making it harder for communities to inform people of their health care options. We applaud the teamwork of Sens. Alexander and Murray and look to Congressional leadership to support and move this process forward.”

While this legislation takes important steps to stabilize the health insurance market, restore funding to outreach and ensure key data are collected, APIAHF is concerned by its expansion of low-quality catastrophic health insurance – previously only available to people under the age of 30. It is important that vulnerable populations with lower health literacy levels receive assistance in fully understanding such health insurance options.

Furthermore, depending on implementation, the loosening of standards for 1332 waivers could negatively impact consumers. In particular, a new standard of “comparable affordability” for cost-sharing assistance should not allow states to impose higher cost sharing on vulnerable populations.