Representatives Craig, Peters Introduce Legislation to Lower the Cost of Health Care Premiums for Millions of Americans

March 12, 2021
Press Release

WASHINGTON, DC — Today, U.S. Representatives Angie Craig (D-MN) and Scott Peters (D-CA) introduced legislation to lower the cost of premiums for people in the individual marketplace by an estimated 8%. The State Health Care Premium Reduction Act would provide federal funding for states to establish reinsurance programs to lower health care premiums – or to provide financial assistance to reduce out-of-pocket costs including premiums for individuals enrolled in qualified health plans. 

The bill passed the House last Congress with bipartisan support.

“Today, in the middle of a deadly pandemic that has claimed more than half a million lives in this country, tens of thousands of Minnesotans are struggling to afford their health care premiums. The federal government can – and must – do more to change that,” said Representative Craig. “I’m proud to introduce this legislation encouraging states to establish reinsurance programs, which can help to stabilize our health care markets and bring down the cost of premiums for millions of Americans.” 

“As our country continues to battle COVID-19’s public health emergency and the subsequent economic fallout, nothing could be more important than ensuring Americans have access to quality, affordable health coverage,” said Representative Peters. “Reinsurance programs keep premiums down for everyone and stabilize the markets, so we should encourage more states to adopt them. It’s one solution to keep Americans insured and keep healthcare affordable.”

By establishing reinsurance programs, states would be using federal dollars to help offset the cost of insuring high-risk patients – allowing them to lower the cost of premiums for all customers. Existing state-run reinsurance programs have been largely effective in reducing premiums for all enrollees, including in Minnesota.

Craig’s legislation also includes a provision correcting an administrative flaw that has cost the State of Minnesota hundreds of millions of dollars since approving its own reinsurance program. In 2017, Minnesota lawmakers established a state-run program to stabilize costs on the individual marketplace which incidentally triggered a reduction in federal funding for the state’s Basic Health Program. Craig’s bill would ensure that savings created by the establishment of a reinsurance program does not inadvertently penalize funding for the Basic Health Program.