Rep. Costello Talks Affordable Health Coverage with CSPAN
Washington, D.C. -- Rep. Ryan Costello (PA-06) in December introduced H.R. 4666, the Premium Relief Act, bipartisan healthcare legislation that would help provide affordable access to health insurance for hardworking Pennsylvanians by providing insurance premium relief and by stabilizing the individual health insurance marketplace. The legislation would fund Cost Sharing Reduction payments (CSRs) and create a Patient and State Stability Fund to give states flexibility in how they provide assistance for health insurance costs.
This week, Rep. Costello appeared on CSPAN to discuss what his legislation would do, and its importance to lowering costs and stabilizing the health insurance market.
“Most Americans do not care whether I’m a Republican or Democrat, or whether it’s named the Affordable Care Act or something else. They just want their health insurance to be stable, they’d like it to be less expensive, and they want to know that the healthcare system is functioning at a more optimal level than it is right now," Rep. Costello said during the interview.
Watch the interview here and a partial transcript is included below.
Rep. Costello joins CSPAN to discuss his legislation, the Premium Relief Act
CSPAN Interview Transcript
Pedro Echevarria, CSPAN: Healthcare is what we’ve asked you to come on to talk about. A piece of legislation that takes a look at the issue of reinsurance and the larger aspects of the Affordable Care Act. Can you tell us what your interest is and what you’d like to see happen?
Rep. Ryan Costello (PA-06): A very important piece of legislation. The Republican effort to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA), which, I’m a Republican, ultimately voted against for a couple of reasons, didn’t pass… didn’t get signed into law.
We are now looking at 2019 health insurance rates, which will make its way through the state health insurance commissioners and ultimately to the Health and Human Services Agency (HHS) down here so that next October, new health insurance rates will come out for Americans.
The President decided, against the objections of many of us, or the recommendations of many of us, to do away with Cost Sharing Reduction Payments (CSR) which has the effect of raising health insurance rates for many low and middle income Americans. By restoring CSR payments, which I would like to do in this bill, we have the ability to reduce health insurance premiums upwards of 20 percent for a lot of Americans.
That is coupled in the legislation with $10 billion per year that would get channeled to states so that they can implement their own reinsurance programs for anything from preventative care, maternity coverage, mental health -- whatever a state feels they need to do on a reinsurance side in order to bring down rates with what’s known as a federal fallback. So for a very expensive patient, you would have the federal government being the backstop for those that are most costly to the health insurance system, so that that has the impact across the board of lowering health insurance payments.
And what I would hope it would do, is it would sort of be a pilot program so that we know the best way to go about reducing and stabilizing the health insurance marketplace, which whether you’re a republican or democrat, everybody feels there is way too much volatility in the health insurance marketplace from year-to-year and we need to do a much better job in that arena, coupled with some other things on reducing actually the cost of healthcare, which is different from health insurance costs.
Pedro Echevarria, CSPAN: We saw the President run on dismantling the ACA, we have heard Republicans run on dismantling the ACA. What’s the reaction to this, which would give stability to the current system?
Rep. Ryan Costello (PA-06): Well, look, I would say two things. Number one, if you’re going to repeal, you need to demonstrate that you’re going to replace it with something better. Number two, regardless of whether you don't like the Affordable Care Act or not, what all of us should not like, is a highly volatile health insurance marketplace with unpredictable health insurance premiums spikes from year-to-year.
What [my bill] does, is for a period of two years, is provide that stability that we need. That does not mean we shouldn't – and we should -- continue to have debate in Congress, continue to hear from patient advocates, health insurance providers, consumers, doctors, everyone in the supply chain of the healthcare system in our country, to find improvements to our healthcare system.
Whether that ultimately means we change the name of the law [the ACA] and some of it remains, or we revamp it more broadly, or whether are we make incremental changes to it, most Americans do not care whether I’m a Republican or Democrat, or whether it’s named the Affordable Care Act or something else. They just want their health insurance to be stable, they’d like it to be less expensive, and they want to know that the healthcare system is functioning at a more optimal level than it is right now.