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Sununu Calls on Congress to Find Solution for Trump's Cut on Insurer Cost-Sharing Payments

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

News that the Trump administration plans to stop issuing cost-sharing payments, or CSRs, provoked swift outcry from New Hampshire’s Congressional delegation. These payments to insurers help to offset the cost of coverage for low-income patients. 

Earlier this year, Gov. Chris Sununu repeatedly called on Trump to make sure the payments continue — but he isn't criticizing the president for the decision to take them away.

In May, Sununu wrote to President Trump urging him to uphold CSRs for 2018, warning that taking them away would cause serious disruptions in New Hampshire’s insurance market.

"To be blunt, without CSR funding New Hampshire faces the threat of losing several carriers in our individual market," Sununu wrote at the time.

He made the point again in a follow-up letter to Trump and former HHS Secretary Tom Price in August, and in separate letters to members of Congress.

But now that Trump has moved to take away these payments, the governor isn’t pointing his finger back at the president. He’s pointing it at Congress.

In a statement issued Friday morning, Sununu said, “The ball is now in Congress’ court, and New Hampshire’s Congressional Delegation must work together to resolve this issue, and finally fix Obamacare’s inherent flaws.”

Asked if the governor thinks the administration bears any responsibility for addressing the issue, in light of the repeated requests to the administration to uphold the CSR payments, gubernatorial spokesman Ben Vihstadt reiterated a call for Congress to step up.

“Obamacare has been faltering long before The President took office. Putting the blame squarely on this Administration is overly simplistic and ignores the fundamental flaws of Obamacare,” Vihstadt wrote in an email. “It’s time for New Hampshire’s Congressional Delegation to put forward constructive solutions to improve America’s health care system.”

The immediate effect of losing CSR payments isn’t yet clear, but the state has taken steps to alleviate some of the potential disruptions. In August, the Insurance Department told carriers they could set their rates for 2018 using the assumption they would not be receiving the payments.

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