House Affordability Bill Would Make Health Care More Equitable and Affordable by Lowering the Cost of Coverage for People Across the Country

For Immediate Release

June 24, 2020

CONTACT: Kathy Melley, (617) 791-0708

(BOSTON, MA) -- The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Enhancement Act (H.R. 1425), proposed by U.S. House Democrats would make access to high quality health care more equitable by lowering the cost of coverage for working- and middle-class families. The bill includes several provisions Community Catalyst has championed, including enhanced tax credits that lower premiums and enable middle-class families struggling with the cost of health care to receive subsides under ACA marketplace plans, a reinvestment in outreach and enrollment to make it easier for people to sign up for coverage, and additional financial incentives for states to close their Medicaid coverage gaps, which disproportionately leave people of color without access to affordable coverage. The affordability provisions are especially important for Black and Brown people, who are more likely to be uninsured and to struggle with health care costs due to discriminatory barriers to economic security. The bill also lowers the cost of prescription drugs, remedies the ‘family glitch,’ which has long prevented people from gaining access to affordable coverage for their whole family, and extends post-partum coverage under Medicaid to improve the consistency and quality of care for newborns and their birth parents.

Statement of Emily Stewart, executive director of Community Catalyst in response to the House bill:

“We applaud House leaders for putting forward a robust plan that would enable more people to get the quality, affordable health coverage and care they need now and to protect them down the road. We are also very pleased to see the inclusion of a number of important measures that would improve health coverage for Black and Indigenous people and U.S. residents from the Freely Associated States.

The approach is a sharp contrast with that of the Trump administration, which continues to do everything in its power to keep people from accessing coverage and care amid a public health crisis, including filing a brief this week to ask the Supreme Court to overturn the Affordable Care Act. This would strip coverage and pre-existing condition protections from tens of million people across the country, and is the exact opposite of what the country needs from its leaders at this moment. 

“The need for affordable health coverage is more critical now than ever. The COVID-19 pandemic has killed more than 100,000 people in the U.S., including disproportionate numbers of Black and Brown people, and has cost tens of millions of people their jobs and health coverage. Black people, in particular, are bearing the brunt of the economic devastation due to the legacy of racist economic policies that create vast income inequality. As a result of these inequities, too many people in our country still can’t afford health coverage – including many of the heroes working in health care, food services and other industries who are risking their health daily in this crisis but aren’t covered through their employers and struggle to make ends meet. This bill would create pathways to more affordable and equitable health coverage and care for these essential workers and for families across the country who cannot afford the coverage they need to stay healthy.

“We thank Speaker Pelosi and Representatives Lauren Underwood and Colin Alred for their leadership on this effort. We look forward to working them to make coverage and care more affordable and equitable for people across the nation, both during the pandemic and long after it’s over.”

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About Community Catalyst

Community Catalyst is a national, non-profit consumer advocacy organization founded in 1998 with the belief that affordable quality health care should be accessible to everyone. We work in partnership with national, state and local organizations, policymakers, and philanthropic foundations to ensure consumer interests are represented wherever important decisions about health and the health system are made: in communities, courtrooms, statehouses and on Capitol Hill. For more information, visit www.communitycatalyst.org. Follow us on Twitter @healthpolicyhub.

 

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