As the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act awaits the president’s signature after passage by Congress today, a group of 17 non-partisan patient and consumer organizations issued the following statement:
“Our organizations, representing millions of Americans, including those with chronic and serious health conditions, are gravely disappointed that Congress voted to repeal the individual mandate as part of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act with no workable alternative to take its place. According to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), this action will cause premiums to rise by 10 percent per year, on average, for some of our most vulnerable citizens and lead to millions more Americans without insurance.
Actuaries, health insurers, physicians, patients, and consumer organizations have raised the alarm about the consequences of repealing the individual mandate for patients and their families, but our warnings have been ignored. Instead of taking concrete steps to make coverage more affordable and accessible, with the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, Congress will increase health care costs. We are moving in the wrong direction, and those who need health coverage the most will pay the price.
Although there are no perfect solutions to this problem, we call on Congress to swiftly consider both short- and long-term ways to lower costs for consumers and to stabilize insurance markets. We stand ready to work with Congress to ensure that health care policies reflect the real and urgent needs of Americans, particularly those with costly, serious, and chronic health conditions.”