“This is a step in the right direction to address health inequity, but more must be done.” – Emily Stewart of Community Catalyst 


August, 12 2022 

CONTACT: Meghan Farrell, (508) 423-5185, mfarrell@communitycatalyst.org 

(BOSTON, MA) –– Community Catalyst released the following statement celebrating the House passage of the reconciliation package, which makes progress towards health justice by bringing down prescription drug prices and extending tax credits for insurance premiums, which will have an immediate impact on people’s ability to afford health care. Millions of people will benefit from this legislation starting on January 1, with an outsized impact on communities that have faced discrimination, barriers to economic opportunity, and affordable coverage and care. The organization urges policymakers to do more by closing the Medicaid coverage gap, fixing problems with the Affordable Care Act that will make health plans more affordable., and addressing the medical debt crisis.  

Statement of Community Catalyst Executive Director Emily Stewart on the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022: 

“This is a pocketbook issue and we are thankful to members of Congress for listening and responding to their constituents. Across the country, families are being forced to make decisions no one should have to make, like choosing between medical care, housing, and putting food on the table. Because of systemic racism, Black and brown people have been impacted the most.  

“The measures passed today will provide immediate relief to families facing serious financial problems. But more must be done to move toward health justice in our nation, including immediate action to close the Mediciad gap, fixing problems with the Affordable Care Act that will make health plans more affordable, and addressing the medical debt crisis. 

“We look forward to working with our partners, congressional leadership and the Biden administration on fulfilling the goal of available, accessible and affordable health coverage for all people. A health system rooted in race equity and health justice is integral to creating a world where health is a right for all.” 

Learn more about Community Catalyst’s vision for the future.  

Additional Background: 

There are three immediate actions policymakers and the Biden administration can do right now to make health care even more affordable for families:  

  • Expand Medicaid: Congress has the power to make health care more affordable for people caught in the Medicaid coverage gap. It is because of systemic racism that most of those left without care are Black and brown – and that impacts entire communities. Without health insurance, people like Amy, a small business owner from Tucker, Georgia, is unable to manage her chronic heart condition with regular doctor visits. With chest pains, she ended up in the emergency room and a $3,000 medical bill. There are 2.2 million people across the United States like Amy who would benefit if Congress closed the Medicaid coverage gap.  

  • Fix the Glitch: The Biden administration has the power to fix the Family Glitch in the Affordable Care Act, which makes coverage out of reach for families like Felicia’s who have access to employer-sponsored insurance that is deemed affordable for an individual employee, but not for the employee’s family. Felicia pays almost $1,200 per month to cover her employer-sponsored health insurance, which is almost 25% of her gross income. This is because her family does not qualify for tax credits through the marketplace because her employer coverage has been deemed “affordable”. There are five million people across the United States would be newly eligible insurance on the Marketplace if the Biden administration fixed the glitch. See testimony from Emily Stewart before the IRS for more information.  

  • Medical Debt: The Biden administration can take action now to ease the burden of medical and dental debt for individuals and families. Our health care system puts profit over people’s health, with 41 percent of adults struggling to pay off medical bills after they get sick. People like Cely, a mother of two who was unable to pay down her medical bills after undergoing treatment for breast cancer, even with private insurance. The effects are hardest felt by communities that have faced discrimination, barriers to economic opportunity, and affordable coverage and care – including more than 20 percent of Black and Native American adults that say affording medical care and prescription drugs is a serious problem for them. See testimony from Emily Stewart before the U.S. Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs for more information. 

# # # 

About Community Catalyst: Community Catalyst is a leading non-profit national health advocacy organization dedicated to advancing a movement for health equity and justice. We partner with local, state and national advocates to leverage and build power so all people can influence decisions that affect their health. Health systems will not be accountable to people without a fully engaged and organized community voice. That’s why we work every day to ensure people’s interests are represented wherever important decisions about health and health care are made: in communities, state houses and on Capitol Hill. For more information, visit http://www.communitycatalyst.org. Follow us on Twitter @CommCatHealth.