Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler Testifies Before Congress
From the Office of the Insurance Commissioner – Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler testified earlier today before the U.S. Senate Health, Education, Labor & Pensions (HELP) Committee in Washington, D.C. The hearing, “Stabilizing Premiums and Helping
Individuals in the Individual Insurance Market for 2018” was led by the Chair Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and Ranking Member Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA).
Kreidler joined four other insurance commissioners from Tennessee, Pennsylvania, Alaska and Oklahoma in urging Congress to take appropriate steps to protect consumers.
He shared Washington’s success story in implementing the Affordable Care Act (ACA), but told the committee members, “Washington State is not immune from the instability caused by the growing uncertainty and actions by the current administration.
“We’ve made tremendous progress in lowering our uninsured rate and our individual market has remained relatively stable since the Affordable Care Act took effect in 2014. But this year has been a serious jolt to our system, with fewer insurers and higher proposed rate increases.”
Kreidler said he was encouraged by the bipartisan effort to hear from insurance regulators who have direct experience with these markets. He encouraged Congress to take quick action to stem the growing uncertainty for consumers and insurers. Kreidler recommended:
- Permanently fund cost-sharing reduction payments
- Create a federal reinsurance program – similar to what was in place during the early years of the ACA, which helped lower premiums
- Ensure that any innovations granted to states protect coverage and affordability
“I’m very hopeful that we can build on today’s bipartisan hearing and find common ground to protect this insurance market that more than 330,000 Washingtonians rely on for health coverage,” said Kreidler.
In closing, he added that Washington State has direct experience with ignoring the warning signs of an unstable insurance market and shared the state’s story from the 1990s when, after successfully passing health reform, the state Legislature repealed critical portions just a few years later.
The repeal caused chaos and ultimately, every health insurer left Washington’s individual health insurance market
“If you ignore the early warning signs of instability, the market will collapse,” said Kreidler. “Let me be your harbinger – it can and will happen if you do not take action now.”
Rep. Dave Reichert (8th CD) Announces Retirement
After serving seven terms, U.S. Representative Dave Reichert announced Wednesday that he will not seek re-election to Congress in 2018. Reichert is currently serving Washington’s 8th Congressional District – composed of Chelan county, Kittitas county and the eastern areas of King and Pierce counties.
RPEC Executive Board – September 12 (Tuesday), 10am, RPEC Council Offices – On the agenda are many items related to Retirement Security and retirees. Members are encouraged to attend.
Select Committee on Pension Policy (SCPP) – September 19 (Tuesday), 10am-12:45pm, House Hearing Room B – On the agenda is the Plan 1 COLA. Members are encouraged to attend.
As you can see, we have much work to do in the weeks and months ahead to continue the betterment of your retirement security. Your continued support and political action is a necessity!