Newswise — WASHINGTON – The American Psychological Association voiced strong support for the legislation proposed by Sens. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., and Patty Murray, D-Wash., to reimburse health insurers for cost-sharing reduction expenses for the next two years, citing the serious consequences facing individuals and families whose coverage is at risk without these subsidies.  

“President Trump’s decision to stop paying these expenses is destabilizing the individual insurance market,” according to a letter from APA President Antonio E. Puente, PhD, and APA CEO Arthur C. Evans Jr., PhD. “Halting the CSR payments will cause chaos and force insurers to substantially raise premiums and, in some cases, leave the markets.”

Insurers providing qualified health plans on the health insurance exchanges under the Affordable Care Act will lose an estimated $1 billion during the remainder of 2017 alone, on top of the billions of dollars they have lost by participating in the exchanges over the past two years, the APA officials said. The Congressional Budget Office projects that 1 million fewer Americans will have health insurance in 2018 as a result.

“Given the rare and precarious bipartisan support the Alexander-Murray legislation has earned, and the serious consequences facing individuals and their families covered under health care exchanges whose coverage and finances are now at risk, we believe it should be enacted without changes,” they wrote.

“This is the first instance of bipartisan agreement on legislation affecting the private health insurance market since the passage of the Affordable Care Act, which is a testament to the careful crafting of the legislation by Senators Alexander and Murray to balance the needs and perspectives of lawmakers on both sides of the aisle.” 

The American Psychological Association, in Washington, D.C., is the largest scientific and professional organization representing psychology in the United States. APA's membership includes nearly 115,700 researchers, educators, clinicians, consultants and students. Through its divisions in 54 subfields of psychology and affiliations with 60 state, territorial and Canadian provincial associations, APA works to advance the creation, communication and application of psychological knowledge to benefit society and improve people's lives.

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