Washington, DC — Today, U.S. Rep. Lauren Underwood (D-IL-14), Covered California’s Peter Lee, and Illinois-based storyteller Audree Hall joined Protect Our Care for a virtual press conference to give a final push for health care enrollment ahead of the January 15 deadline. A record 13.8 million people have signed up for coverage through the ACA marketplaces thanks in large part to the American Rescue Plan’s enhanced premium tax credits, which were championed by Rep. Underwood. The enhanced tax credits dramatically lowered the cost of coverage for working families, allowing four out of five eligible enrollees to find a plan for $10 or less per month.
During the call, speakers conveyed the importance of Americans taking advantage of lower health care costs by enrolling in coverage in 2022. Speakers also urged the Senate to pass the Build Back Better Act, which passed the House in November, in order to make the enhanced premium tax credits permanent to drive down health care costs for families and expand coverage to millions of Americans.
“The American people have sent a clear message this Open Enrollment period: when coverage is affordable, people enroll in record numbers. My Health Care Affordability Act, which was signed into law as part of the American Rescue Plan Act, has made coverage truly affordable for millions of individuals and families across the country,” said U.S. Representative Lauren Underwood (D-IL-14). “I encourage all Americans who need health coverage to visit HealthCare.gov to enroll in a plan before the enrollment deadline this Saturday, January 15th.”
“Coverage means that you’re staying healthy and getting primary care. If you’re uninsured, you’re walking out of the hospital with a debt that costs more than a mortgage,” said Peter Lee, Executive Director of Covered California. “Millions of people are signing up for coverage because the American Rescue Plan helped make coverage more affordable than ever. It’s time for Congress to pass Build Back Better because it extends the expansions of the American Rescue Plan for three years. If we don’t lock those in, many people signing up today will drop coverage over the long term.”
“I lost my job. I have been the primary health care provider in my home, and the pandemic hits. What point in time do you decide to pay your mortgage or pay a health care premium?” said Audree Hall, a health care storyteller from Lake County. “I’m beyond grateful that the American Rescue Plan passed, and for those who have not signed up, check out the marketplace — there are options for you that you didn’t think you had before, that cover things you didn’t think it covered. It was life-changing for me. Please pass the Build Back Better bill and extend it for three years.”
“Thanks to health care champions like Congresswoman Underwood, millions of Americans are able to afford high-quality health coverage,” said Leslie Dach, Chair of Protect Our Care. “The success of the 2022 open enrollment period only shows how essential it is that the Senate work quickly to pass the Build Back Better Act to make these enhanced premium tax credits permanent and ensure that families have access to the health care they need during the pandemic and beyond.”