Chronic disease: Costly, deadly, and preventable – National Consumers League

Written by NCL Intern Sierra Hatfield

This summer, at a panel discussion sponsored by the Partnership to Fight Chronic Disease (PFCD) titled “Turning the Tide in Health Care Starts with Chronic Disease,” the distinguished panelists included Dan Crippen from the MIT Center for Finance and Policy, Douglas Holtz-Eakin from the American Action Forum, and Kenneth Thorpe of the Department of Health Policy & Management at Emory University.

The topic of discussion was the cost of chronic disease to society. Why? Chronic disease is the number one cause of death, disability, and rising health care costs in America. More than 191 million Americans have at least one chronic disease, and 90 cents of every dollar spent on health care goes towards the treatment of someone with a chronic disease. From an economic standpoint, a 90 percent growth in Medicare spending can be attributed to chronic disease alone, with the total cost of chronic disease projected to reach $42 trillion by 2030.

In addition to Medicare, the panelists discussed the costs to the states of mental illness, since an estimated 41 percent of adults have at least one mental health condition, and mental health treatment costs the states an estimated $3.5 trillion. Some states, such as Vermont, have introduced community health teams statewide who help with prevention and care coordination initiatives. According to Thorpe, these teams save the state money in two ways: (1) by integrating existing systems which were previously isolated; and (2) by integrating social services into healthcare as part of a care plan.

From a public health perspective, an estimated 1.1 million American lives could be saved annually through better prevention measures. Unfortunately, younger generations face a higher burden of chronic disease than previous generations, illustrating the need not only for a better healthcare system but also an urgency to understand how better prevention methods can be utilized.

For this reason, PFCD focuses its efforts on prevention and advocates for better access to health care services, early detection, medication adherence, and integrating social services and health care. Thorpe recommended scaling and replicating the European model where more GDP spending is on social programs than on health care, citing the practice as a good example of successful integration of the two. The panelists also advocated for the education and empowerment of local communities to take charge of their health

For our part, the National Consumers League (NCL) works to ensure affordable, quality health care for all Americans. In addition, NCL’s Script Your Future Medication Adherence Campaign provides tools and resources to help consumers with chronic diseases such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and respiratory disease to take their medications as directed in order to protect their health. To “Take the Pledge to Take Your Meds,” please visit

The not-so-secret war on consumer protection – National Consumers League

SG_headshot_92_2017.jpgThis blog post was originally published in the Huffington Post.

While the public is laser-focused on the fate of healthcare, consumer advocates are watching with horror as Congress works to unravel, piece by piece, many long-standing consumer protections, taking actions that favor big industry over the little guy. With the backing of industry, federal legislators are attacking rules that protect seniors from ripoffs and scams and blocking agencies from using their powers to prevent illegal activity or set sensible safety standards.

Case in point: a bill that recently passed House Appropriations, pushed by the multi-billion dollar direct selling industry, essentially ties the hands of the Federal Trade Commission, preventing the agency from policing illegal pyramid schemes. Without the ability to investigate and shut down these fraudulent businesses, which target low-income and minority Americans, these notorious hucksters will run wild.

Similarly, in May, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) adopted rules to curb forced arbitration to ensure that consumers have the right to go to court instead of being forced into private arbitration controlled by businesses—a right companies already have. When a data breach at Home Depot in 2014 led to losses for banks nationwide, these banks filed a class-action lawsuit seeking compensation. Companies have the choice of taking legal action together, yet consumers are frequently blocked from exercising the same legal right when they believe that companies have wronged them.

The CFPB’s new rules will change that, but House leaders are now trying to block the CFPB rule, doing the bidding of corporate wrongdoers like Bank of America. What’s worse, the bankers’ friends in Congress are bullying the bureau’s director, Richard Cordray, and threatening to fire him despite his record of returning more than $12 billion to consumers.

Even common-sense safety rules are not immune to this assault. Take, for example, the humble table saw. These mainstays of high school shop classes and hobbyists’ workshops are responsible for more than 11 finger amputations every day and 35,000 emergency room visits annually. Earlier this year, after years of study, the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) proposed a new safety standard using proven technology that would totally prevent these injuries. Rather than embrace this revolutionary development, House appropriators, at the behest of the power saw industry, attached a rider saying the CPSC cannot work on table saw safety at all! This is akin to telling the Food and Drug Administration it cannot regulate drug safety or telling the Department of Defense it can’t deploy troops. Unfortunately, industry and its allies in Congress smell blood and, with their corporate backers, no consumer protection is safe from attack.

The list of industry targets could fill a book, from rolling back broadband privacy protections, to supporting the airlines’ power grab of our air traffic control system. What’s alarming is that this unprecedented attack on consumer protections is happening out of public view. That’s too bad, because the public needs to know about this full-on assault and who is behind it. Industry is calling the shots and writing the bills, and leadership in the House and Senate is doing what they ask. The irony is that survey after survey shows that consumers actually want sensible safety and health protections, including safe products for themselves and their children.

Americans want regulators to shut down illegal financial schemes and frauds, and they expect their members of Congress to side with them, not with big corporations. That’s why groups like NCL are urging every consumer to tell Congress to back off efforts to kill the critical rules and protections that millions of us depend on every day.

Public breastfeeding legal but stigmatized – National Consumers League

Written by NCL Intern Trang Nguyen

Breastfeeding has long been hailed as the best source of food for infants, providing the perfect mix of nutrition in an easily digestible form and lowering the risk of certain syndromes, diseases, and allergies.

For the mother, breastfeeding reduces uterine bleeding after birth, lowers the risk of breast and ovarian cancer, and helps moms lose their pregnancy weight faster. With those significant advantages, it is no wonder that organizations dedicated to maternal and children’s health and wellness recommend breastfeeding exclusively for the first 6 months, and supplemented with other sources of nutrition for at least 12 months and up to 2 years of age and even beyond. Health experts estimate that if new mothers exclusively breastfeed for at least six months, the U.S. would save $13 billion in healthcare and other costs each year. With those incredible benefits, over the last 25 years, the Surgeons General of the United States have been calling for greater incentives to protect and promote breastfeeding. As a society, we need to do all we can to create an environment in which women feel safe and comfortable breastfeeding.

In the United States, 81.1 percent of mothers begin breastfeeding their babies at birth. Yet, only half of the babies are still breastfed at 6 months of age and roughly 30 percent by 12 months. The fall-off is understandable, given the sadly negative feelings too many Americans attach to breastfeeding in public – ALERT: breastfeeding mothers are just feeding their babies, not engaging in a sexual act! Sadly, many mothers are more likely to stop breastfeeding if it means they can socialize outside of the home without fear of hiding in public bathrooms to feed their children.

Breastfeeding should be welcomed and encouraged in public spaces. We need to encourage mothers to do what is best for their babies by making sure infants continue to be breastfed for the recommended optimal time period. It is a fundamental part of sustaining a new life. Indeed, most mothers make every effort to be discreet. Unfortunately, many mothers are still facing discrimination and harassment for breastfeeding in public.

State and federal laws are lacking in protecting breastfeeding mothers. While 49 states already recognize the importance of breastfeeding and have laws explicitly allowing women to breastfeed in any public and private location where the mother can legally be present (e.g., Massachusetts allows breastfeeding in any place open to the general public such as a park or theater), new moms’ rights are often violated when they are asked to stop or relocate, and they have no recourse. In recent years, there have been far too many incidents of breastfeeding mothers being asked to leave places like a Springfield church, Nordstrom bathroom, courtroom, Target store, and many others, despite the fact they were not doing anything illegal.

Furthermore, only 29 states exempt breastfeeding from public indecency, which means even in states that recognize mothers’ rights to nurse in public, they can still be prosecuted for public indecency. In 2003, Jacqueline Mercado was arrested and temporarily lost custody of her children because she was photographed breastfeeding her 1-year-old. She was prosecuted for “sexual performance of a child,” a second-degree felony punishable by up to 20 years in prison. It took her six months to get the charges dropped and resume her children’s custody. This incident happened in Texas, where “a mother [has been] entitled to breast-feed her baby in any location in which the mother is authorized to be” since 1995.

There are also countless examples of nursing mothers being asked to relocate despite the property having no policies against public breastfeeding. In 2013, Amber Hinds was asked by a lifeguard to relocate herself to the locker room when she was breastfeeding in the county pool. She later called the pool manager and found out they were aware of the Wyoming state law protecting a woman’s right to breastfeed and had no policy against breastfeeding.

Nursing mothers even have to put up with derogatory and humiliating comments from their colleagues and employers when they pump breastmilk in the workplace despite the protection of the law. In 2010, the Affordable Care Act (ACA), Section 4207 amended The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) of 1938 (29 U.S. Code 207) to specify that a mother has the right to take reasonable break time to express breast milk at work for one year after childbirth. Employers must also provide a private space, other than a toilet stall, for that employee to express breast milk. In spite of the benefits nursing has to businesses, including reducing the time a mother may miss work because of baby-related illnesses and encouraging her to come back to work earlier after birth because she is less concern about the effect it would have on the nursing relationship, we still hear heartbreaking stories of how nursing employees are not supported in the workplace. The Washington Post recently shared tales of how women have to pump milk in ant and roach-infested storage rooms, or have the CEO announce everyone of her pumping by playing Joe Budden’s Pump It Up. Under such stress and lack of support, many working mothers, like officer Victoria Clark, had no other choice but to stop breastfeeding altogether.

Incidents like this show that there is still much to do to protect the rights of nursing mothers. States need to revise their laws, adding legal remedies and removing public breastfeeding from the public indecency list. Meanwhile, public accommodations need to better train their staffs on policies and state laws that protect the rights of mothers to breastfeed in public. Even if this is merely a mistake on the staff’s part, and does not reflect the view of the property or the managing board, it can still leave detrimental consequences for new and inexperienced mothers. Mothers who have been yelled at or singled out in public might feel ashamed of breastfeeding in public and might abandon doing so altogether. Overall, we need to improve the public’s perception of breastfeeding so that nursing mothers will not have to go through emotional stress and abuse to feed their children.

As many women and men continue to fight for the right to breastfeed in public, mothers might equip themselves by better understanding state laws on public breastfeeding at and feeling empowered to state their right to be free of any harassment or discrimination they might face for breastfeeding in public. Even if the law has no enforcement mechanism, it is helpful for breastfeeding mothers to cite their rights when making complaints, calling for support, or contacting legislators.

As consumers cry for more fuel-efficient vehicles, carmakers go the opposite direction – National Consumers League

fuel_efficiency.jpgWritten by NCL Intern Trang Nguyen

In March 2017, after a meeting with automakers in Detroit, President Trump began the process of rolling back a set of 2012 automotive emission standards, which were set to raise the fuel efficiency of new cars from 27.5 to 54.4 miles per gallon (MPG) by 2025. This goal would have reduced greenhouse gas emission by 6 billion tons over the lifetime of a new car and saved 2 million gallons of oil per day.

U.S. automakers claim that the emission goals of the future will increase car prices and lower sales. However, multiple reports and surveys have found that consumers want and expect to buy more fuel-efficient vehicles. The Consumer Federation of America (CFA) reported recently that SUVs, crossovers, and pickups whose MPGs increased by over 10 percent between 2011 and 2016 had a 59 percent increase in sales. Vehicles whose MPGs increased by less than 10 percent only experienced a 41 percent growth. Though the sales for both types have increased, it is clear that consumers want to buy vehicles with far greater fuel efficiency.

A survey by Consumer Reports shows that 53 percent of all American vehicle owners want better fuel economy with the next car they purchase. Eighty-four percent of American adults feel that automakers should continue to improve fuel economy for all types of vehicles, while 75 percent think the government should continue to require automakers to improve fuel economy, and 70 percent think standards for fuel efficiency should be higher. And 60 percent are willing to pay extra for more fuel-efficient vehicles, which can recover the additional cost within 5 years. 

All the numbers point to one undeniable conclusion: Consumers want more fuel-efficient cars. For companies to lobby for reversals on their agreed-upon fuel efficiency goals goes against the wishes of their own customers. Indeed, automakers are already achieving these goals with improved technologies. According to the EPA, there are already more than 100 car and SUV models that meet standards stretching beyond 2020, and some already meeting the 2025 standards. And nearly half of the 2017 vehicle models are actually cheaper for their initial costs (and fuel cost in five years) compared to their 2011 models

CFA rightly argues that U.S. car manufacturers are asking for trouble – as they did in 2009 – when the government had to bail out these companies because of the large number of fuel-inefficient cars they could not sell. Lowering the MPGs standard will spell trouble once again for American car companies as it puts them at a disadvantage compared to their Asian and European counterparts, which will continue to improve the fuel efficiency of their products pursuant to international consumer demand, regardless of how the U.S. rollback turns out.

NCL offers American automakers some advice: do not repeat your mistakes. Listen to the wishes of consumers. Consumers want better, more fuel-efficient cars. Rolling back the fuel-efficiency standards is bad policy: bad for the environment, bad for consumers, bad for the economy, and bad for business!

U.S. airline consolidation no good for consumers – National Consumers League

Written by NCL Intern Trang Nguyen

The American airlines industry is a lucrative one. Despite complaints about airlines’ constant delays, fees on everything from baggage, cancellation, seats, food, and blankets, to United Airline’s violent removal of Dr. David Dao this spring, the industry brought in $13.5 billion in profit in 2016. 

Consumers are also being charged excessive airfares, compared with European airlines’ patrons. In fact, The Economist magazine estimated that U.S. airlines’ profit per customer is nearly triple that of their European counterparts. In America, domestic airfares rose faster than inflation.

Over the past decade, consolidation has reduced the number of large airlines from nine to four – American, United, Delta, and Southwest – which control more than 80 percent of the U.S. market. Ninety-three out of 100 of the largest airports in America are dominated by one or two airlines, with 40 of them controlled by one. And airlines are trying to maximize their opportunities for monopoly over airports. For example, United Airline announced in June 2015 that it would move its shrinking number of flights from New York’s Kennedy Airport to New Jersey’s Newark airport, where it controlled 68 percent of the seats. Meanwhile, Delta would replace United to increase its dominance at JFK and pull out from Newark. We are pleased that the move was blocked by the Department of Justice, but more needs to be done.

Not only are airlines working to monopolize airports, they are also obstructing smaller discount airlines’ access to routes. For instance, Delta entered a 40-year-plus contract with Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport (CVG) that gave the airline the final say on much of the airport’s expenditures. The lack of competition at CVG worked to the detriment of travelers; it limited their travel options and forced them to pay monopoly prices, which were ranked the highest in the United States for years. After the contract expired in 2015, Delta finally loosened its grip on the airport when the airline signed a new 5-year contract that allowed CVG more control over its funding and incentive packages. Since then, CVG has seen an influx of low-cost airlines, including Frontier, Allegiant, and Southwest. Thanks to new competitions, ticket prices at CVG have dropped $170 per passenger in the last two years.

Still, consumers need better protections from airline monopoly. U.S. airlines are continuing to limit competition by lobbying to restrict international airlines like Emirates, Etihad, and Qatar and slowing down the approval process for low-cost airlines like Norwegian, despite the Open Skies agreements that limit government interference in commercial airlines’ decisions on routes, capacity, and pricing. When competition is limited, airlines are free to keep airfares sky-high while cutting service and quality, shrinking seat spaces, overbooking, and charging for carry-on luggage. Consumers are forced to travel farther for affordable airfares, as fliers near Reagan National Airport (DCA) and Washington Dulles International Airport (IAD) testify. The competition driven by 14 domestic airlines at Baltimore Washington International Airport (BWI) (compared with nine and eight at DCA and IAD, respectively), lowers airfares at BWI and allows the airport to attract customers from a far larger geographic area. 

Diversity of airlines also protects airports and residents of a region from being affected dramatically should an airline face financial problems. This happened to the Delta-Northwest dominated CVG when the airline cut more than half of its flights and 840 airport jobs. The elimination of direct flights to London, Amsterdam, Frankfurt and Rome devastated the community as businesses with European headquarters left the city. The region lost thousands of jobs and hundreds of millions of dollars annually as a result.

With the increased global nature of business, Americans are flying more often than ever. As a result, keeping airline travel affordable and accessible is increasingly important. It goes without saying that the airline industry has a major effect on the lives of its customers. Introducing real competition and breaking up oligopolies or monopolies at airports is good for business and good for consumers. This is one reason why NCL supports the DOT’s Airline Passenger Rights and urges Congress to enact protections that will stimulate competition, require better airline service, and make air travel more affordable.

Coding bootcamps: What’s in store for the future? – National Consumers League


While progress has been made in transforming the for-profit education industry into a regulated space, there are still many institutions operating under false pretenses: using incorrect statistics to boost graduates’ job success rates, promising full refunds if a student is unhappy with a program, and even doctoring teacher qualifications. Coding bootcamps are no exception—promising prospective students the chance of a lifetime, but often failing to deliver anything but rudimentary skills and massive deficits in graduates’ bank accounts.

So what can customers and the authorities do to change for-profit education—specifically coding bootcamps—into an industry that prizes student satisfaction over financial gain?  

Coding bootcamps are businesses

All businesses, including the majority of coding bootcamps, rely on customers to stay open. Just as Yelp ratings and other online feedback can influence a restaurant’s trajectory—perhaps even compelling it to make major updates—a stream of honest reviews from alumni on sites like CourseReport or SwitchUp can turn prospective students away from unscrupulous bootcamps. Likewise, the more positive reviews and writeups a school gets, the more likely it is to outlast the competition.

Though this tactic may not seem like the fastest way to shutter an unsatisfactory school or boost a legitimate one, if an institution is functioning within the confines of the legal system and there’s no valid argument for bringing in government authorities, then spreading the word—and influencing the school’s cash flow—may be the most effective way for consumers to regulate the industry themselves.

Government regulation is possible

In order for government regulation of the industry to function—and be accepted by the tech community—it must leave room for top-tier bootcamps to thrive, provide space for new, legitimate bootcamps to materialize, and crack down on weak programs and scams.

In California, the Bureau for Private Postgraduate Education, which was created in 2010 and will remain active until at least 2021—when it could be repealed—seeks to ensure that any in-state, privately funded school meets a minimum set of requirements. Whether it’s a coding bootcamp or a cosmetology training program, there are clear standards in place, and if the school doesn’t meet them, it can be fined or even shut down completely. The BPPE allows anyone—not just customers—to file complaints against a school if they believe the school isn’t providing a quality education, thereby working to ensure a fair, neutral reporting process.

While California is still the only state to have an official agency dedicated to monitoring for-profit education, some of its practices can be adopted in other states even without government involvement. Independent organizations can take similar actions by verifying and publishing schools’ data on enrollment, graduation and dropout rates, as well as investigating whether graduates actually land relevant jobs.

The national Council on Integrity in Results Reporting does exactly that. Although in this model schools perform self-evaluations rather than undergoing official assessments like those done by the BPPE, electing to join CIRR demonstrates a school’s commitment to providing a high quality education and to promoting the transparency that students need in order to make informed decisions about their careers. So far, 28 coding schools have joined the organization.

CIRR can’t force any school to join, but when students favor member institutions that commit to the council’s principles, it sends the message to other schools that increased transparency and accountability translates to increased enrollment rates and ultimately greater profits.


In the current legislative climate, it’s unlikely that the federal government will prioritize regulating for-profit education as it once did with programs like the Educational Quality Through Innovative Partnerships (EQUIP), an initiative started by the U.S Department of Education during the Obama presidency. EQUIP matched nontraditional higher education institutions with colleges and universities and designated a “quality assurance entity” to evaluate the program’s performance. By structuring the program in this way, low-income students could receive federal aid to cover tuition costs and be confident in the academic rigor of their curricula.

For now, consumers, companies, organizations, local government, and schools themselves are going to be the ones shouldering the responsibility. Even with government oversight and dedicated bureaus like the CIRR monitoring privately-funded learning institutions there may never be a completely foolproof system for regulating coding bootcamps. Clever maneuvering can let a business in any industry—no matter how well-regulated—avoid following the rules. The biggest thing we as consumers can do is to report on personal experiences and point others in the right direction. That way, good schools and thrive and the ones that don’t play by the rules get disciplined.


NCL leads charge for table saw safety at agency hearing – National Consumers League

August 10, 2017

Contact: Cindy Hoang, National Consumers League, (202) 207-2832,

Washington, DC—National Consumers League (NCL) joined 22-year-old table saw injury victim, Josh Ward, from Sisters, OR, who severed four fingers on a table saw at age 17 in shop class, and other witnesses at a hearing of the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) this Wednesday. The Commission is considering a safety standard for all table saws sold in the United States using currently available technology. In 2015, table saws accounted for more than 4,000 amputations – 11 a day – and 33,400 emergency room visits. This new standard will eliminate virtually all table saw injuries.

“Table saws have a demonstrated pattern of injury affecting thousands of victims and costing society billions of dollars every year,” said NCL in comments filed with the CPSC.

“We can end table saw injuries forever using affordable, available technology so why wouldn’t we do that?” said Sally Greenberg, executive director of NCL, who offered testimony before the Commission. “Why should Josh Ward – at the age of 17 – have had to suffer life-altering injuries, lifelong pain and risk of infection, and have his dreams of becoming a firefighter destroyed when we could have completely prevented his injury?”

Greenberg noted that today’s technology, which protects users through a sensor that can distinguish between wood and a finger, prevents the blade from inflicting serious injury. Makers of the SawStop saw, which includes this safety technology, have recorded over 5,000 “finger saves,” cases of people who would have sustained serious injury but did not because they were using a safe saw design. NCL wants all table saw users to have the benefit of this same safety technology.

“Accidents like mine can happen to anyone. You can’t put a value on what it’s like to lose your hand; the Commission needs to finalize its safety standard so nobody else need suffer a life-altering injury as I have done, all because their hand slipped for a fraction of a second while operating a table saw,” said Ward in emotional testimony before the panel.

The hearing took place before the five members of the CPSC on August 9. The Commission is considering this mandatory safety standard for table saws. SawStop’s inventor, Dr. Steven Gass, also testified. Industry witnesses all opposed the CPSC’s proposal, citing cost and other issues.

Read NCL’s testimony here.


About the National Consumers League

The National Consumers League, founded in 1899, is America’s pioneer consumer organization. Our mission is to protect and promote social and economic justice for consumers and workers in the United States and abroad. For more information, visit

CareFirst lawsuit victory – National Consumers League

gavel_icon.jpgWritten by NCL Intern Trang Nguyen

We recently celebrated a legal victory—NCL filed the only amicus curiae brief in the case—that recognized harm to consumers whose health plans’ websites are hacked and personal information is stolen because the plan failed to provide adequate security measures to protect its insurees’ data.

The class action suit was brought in the U.S. District Court of District of Columbia involving CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield. The plaintiffs alleged that the company’s negligence allowed hackers to access 1.1 million customers’ personal information. The incident happened in June 2014, when an unknown intruder hacked 22 CareFirst computers and reached the database containing its customers’ personal information. The company only discovered the breach after 11 months and finally notified its customers in May 2015. Chantal Attias and six other plaintiffs, on behalf of CareFirst’s customers, sued the company for the negligence that exposed the plaintiffs to substantially heightened risk of identity theft. U.S. District Judge Christopher R. Cooper dismissed the case, holding that the plaintiffs lacked standing to proceed by failing to claim how they have suffered substantial risk or impending injury fairly traceable to the actions of the defendant. 

In a decision handed down last week, DC Federal Circuit Court of Appeals Court Judge Thomas B. Griffith reversed the lower court’s decision, ordering that the plaintiff had demonstrated substantial risk of future harm stemming from the breach. As CareFirst collects and stores its customers’ personal identification information, personal health information and other sensitive information, including patient credit card and Social Security numbers, the cyberattack in 2014 exposed a great deal of the information to wrongdoers, allowing them to appropriate a victim’s identity. CareFirst claimed that hackers could only access customers’ names, dates of birth, email address, and subscriber identification—not Social Security numbers or credit card information. Judge Griffith granted that, even if such was the case, the compromised information was enough to increase the risk of identity theft, which can cause “victims to receive improper medical care, have their insurance depleted, become ineligible for health or life insurance, or become disqualified from some jobs.”

Judge Griffith agreed that, while the hackers were the immediate cause of plaintiff’s injuries, CareFirst’s failure to properly secure customers’ data contributed to the breach, and thereby subjected them to a substantial risk of identity theft. Therefore, under the standards of Article III, the plaintiffs’ injury was in fact fairly traceable to CareFirst.

Finally, the court recognized that since the plaintiffs would have to expend a large amount of money to mitigate and protect themselves from the substantial risk of identity theft, they are justified in demanding monetary damages.

NCL urges federal government to fund CSR benefits to make marketplace coverage more affordable

August 2, 2017

Contact: Cindy Hoang, National Consumers League, (202) 207-2832,

Washington, DC–The National Consumers League (NCL) urges the Federal government to fund cost-sharing reduction (CSR) benefits, which make coverage more affordable for low- and moderate-income Americans who buy their own coverage.

Unfortunately, President Trump continues to threaten to stop the CSR payments in a misguided attempt to resurrect Congressional efforts to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA). In response, the bipartisan Problem Solvers Caucus of more than 40 Members of Congress released a proposal on Monday that would ensure mandatory funding of the CSRs. NCL applauds this proposal and urges Congress to move swiftly to approve these appropriations.

The following quote may be attributed to Sally Greenberg, NCL executive director:

“Funding CSR benefits is not an insurer `bailout,’ as President Trump has claimed. Health plans pass these dollars through to consumers, so that they can afford to see their doctors and get their prescriptions. This funding helps to lower deductibles and other out-of-pocket costs for more than 6 million low- and moderate-income Americans. Without certainty that these payments will be made, however, health plans are likely to raise premiums or choose to leave the Marketplace entirely – leaving people with few, if any, choices. It is time to shore up, not undermine, the Marketplace, and ensure the market stability that both health plans and consumers desperately need.”   


About the National Consumers League

The National Consumers League, founded in 1899, is America’s pioneer consumer organization. Our mission is to protect and promote social and economic justice for consumers and workers in the United States and abroad. For more information, visit