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Funding CSR Payments in the Health Insurance Stabilization Package Could Harm Low- and Middle-Income Consumers

By Stan Dorn,


Families USA strongly supports bipartisan efforts to give consumers affordable health insurance in the individual market. A successful stabilization bill would enhance affordability and access by raising advance premium tax credits (APTCs), funding reinsurance, financing outreach and enrollment assistance, and stopping proposed regulations that would let short-term plans and association health plans (AHPs) substantially undermine the individual market.

However, one idea under consideration—restoring cost-sharing-reduction (CSR) payments to health insurers—would have the profound unintended effect of significantly raising health care costs for more than 2 million low- and middle-income consumersView our fact sheet for details, including state-by-state numbers.

We urge Congress not to restore CSR payments unless they are combined with APTC increases large enough to shield low- and moderate-income consumers from harm.

Key findings

  • Congress should act swiftly to stabilize the individual health insurance market.
  • One policy under consideration—renewed funding for cost-sharing-reduction (CSR) payments to insurers—would actually have the unintended consequence of dramatically raising premium costs for more than 2 million low- and moderate-income consumers.
  • Congress could use other approaches to stabilize the market and protect higher-income consumers without hurting low-wage workers and middle-class families.
  • Families USA strongly recommends avoiding renewed CSR payments unless a stabilization bill also gives low-income and middle-class consumers other forms of help that protect them from harm.