Washington, DC — Today, Senator Mark Warner (D-VA) and Rep. Colin Allred (D-TX-32) joined Protect Our Care on a press call to discuss the latest coronavirus negotiations and Americans’ health care needs during this pandemic, particularly Republicans’ failure to strengthen Medicaid and open a special enrollment period for the uninsured to gain coverage through the ACA marketplace. Mitch McConnell and House Republicans have refused to consider the Heroes Act – championed by Democrats and passed by the House over two months ago – which provides a 14% increase in funds to support state Medicaid programs, $75 billion in funding for testing and contact tracing, coverage of coronavirus treatment without cost-sharing, and the opening of a special enrollment period. A recent poll from Public Policy Polling for Protect Our Care shows that voters in Mitch McConnell’s home state of Kentucky support key provisions of the Heroes Act championed by House Democrats.
Senator Warner also discussed his legislation, the States Achieve Medicaid Expansion (SAME) Act, which would allow states like Virginia, which expanded Medicaid after 2014, to receive the same full federal matching funds as states that expanded earlier under the terms of the Affordable Care Act. Under this legislation, the 13 states that have not expanded Medicaid would also be eligible for increased federal funds once they choose to expand the program. Congressman Allred is helping lead a similar effort in the House as a cosponsor to the companion bill, the Incentivizing Medicaid Expansion Act.
“In the past week alone, more than 8,000 Virginians have filed for unemployment, and a good number of them are at direct risk of losing their employer-sponsored health care coverage. And that’s just in Virginia,” said Senator Mark Warner. “According to a May report, nearly 27 million people nationwide have lost their employer-sponsored health insurance as a result of losing their job. Just a few simple steps – like strengthening Medicaid and launching a special enrollment period – could expand affordable health care access to millions of Americans. Congress has the responsibility to ensure that Americans have continued access to the health services they need during this global pandemic. As we negotiate what the next COVID-19 relief bill will look like, I’ll continue to urge my colleagues to do something to stave off this growing health care storm.”
“Ensuring that everyone has access to the health care they need during this crisis should not be a partisan issue,” said Congressman Colin Allred. “There are common sense things we can do now. Whether it is a special enrollment period, ending the attacks on the Affordable Care Act or providing states with support for Medicaid. I am willing to work with anyone to help North Texans, and I urge the Senate and this Administration to work with us and help deliver relief.”
“Over two months ago, the House of Representatives under the leadership of Speaker Pelosi passed the Heroes Act, which provides a 14% increase in funds to support state Medicaid programs, $75 billion in funding for testing and contact tracing, coverage of coronavirus treatment without cost-sharing and the opening of a special enrollment period,” said Protect Our Care Communications Director Anne Shoup. “The meager package unveiled by Mitch McConnell this week lacks the vital health care provisions necessary to get our country on the right track and protect Americans’ health and safety. The bottom line is that any meaningful coronavirus package must further increase federal funds to support state Medicaid programs and include a special enrollment period for the federal marketplace.”