Ranking Member Levin Opening Statement at Committee Markup of IPAB Repeal

Oct 4, 2017
Press Release

(Remarks as delivered)


This proposal relates to a board that is not expected to come into operation, at the earliest, until 2022. There’s no pay-for in this bill – and the estimate is that it would essentially require us to come up with $17.5 billion.

So I want to talk, if I might on behalf of us all on Democratic side, about your reference to bipartisanship. We need bipartisanship right now on something that is right in front of us, not years away. And so far there has been no willingness on the part of the Republicans to do that.

Mr. Chairman, we sent you a letter nearly a month ago asking that we sit down and talk about necessary actions relating to individual health insurance market stabilization. And I think if we work together, we can find ways to do that. So far, we haven’t received a response to that request, even as Senate Republican and Democrats have been moving actively in this effort. So Mr. Chairman, I really urge you on behalf of all of us – not only Democrats on this Committee or Democrats in Congress but the people of the United States – Mr. Chairman for you to agree to sit down with us, or let the subcommittee sit down and talk about these issues.

About cost sharing. As we know 7 million people’s assistance is at stake with its continuation.

Also, provisions for outreach and enrollment. We received in Michigan just a week or two ago, the notice that there was going to be a cut in navigator funding for the main outreach entity in Michigan by 90 percent. By 90 percent. We need to sit down and talk about how we can avoid that terrible outcome.

We also need to talk about programs that relate to risk-mitigation, to bolster the insurance market. You all say you believe in importance of private insurance structure. We should sit down, Mr. Chairman, either in committee or in the subcommittee right away and talk about these issues.

So we await your answer. Instead, we’re meeting here today to talk about an entity that is not going to come into operation until 2022. And once again, we have no idea of the pay-fors.

I want to end by referring to the pay-fors for the CHIP legislation that is currently being marked up in the Energy and Commerce Committee. The pay-fors that have been presented would raise premiums and cause many to lose coverage. I hope Mr. Chairman, that we will actively participate with the Energy and Commerce Committee to make sure that any pay-fors for CHIP have bipartisan support.

So I just finish saying to you, Mr. Chairman, you referred to bipartisanship on numerous occasions in your opening remarks. Will you today tell us you’re willing to have this committee or the Health subcommittee sit down on a bipartisan basis to discuss possible ways to shore up the individual insurance market? And if I might, I’ll yield to you for an answer.