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lower cost Archives — Protect Our Care

House Energy & Commerce Committee Continues to Deliver On Their Promise to Americans With More Legislation Designed to Lower Costs, Improve Care, and End Trump Administration’s Sabotage

Democrats, Responding to the Mandate from Voters in November, Introduce Bills to Reverse the Trump Administration’s Harmful Cuts to the Navigator Program, Provide States More Funding to Establish State-Based Marketplaces, and Provide Funding for States to Set Up Their Own Reinsurance Programs

Washington, DC — Today, the Subcommittee on Health of the Committee on Energy and Commerce held a hearing announcing a second round of bills that are aimed at lowering costs, increasing access to care, and blocking the Trump administration’s sabotage of our health care system. The first round of bills considered by the committee would halt the administration’s harmful waivers, roll back junk plans that undermine protections for people with pre-existing conditions and provide insufficient coverage, and restore funding for open enrollment that has been slashed by President Trump in an act of deliberate sabotage.

This set of bills would reverse the Trump administration’s harmful cuts to the navigator program that denied people access to fair and impartial information on enrollment and financial assistance options; provide states more funding to establish state-based marketplaces giving states the ability to tailor the program to meet the particular needs of their residents; and provide funding for states to set up their own reinsurance programs that make health care more affordable for everyone throughout the individual market including those with serious medical conditions.

“Last November, voters rejected the Trump administration and their GOP allies’ repeal and sabotage agenda and scores of Republicans in Congress were shown the door as a result,” said Brad Woodhouse, executive director of Protect Our Care. “Democrats are continuing to turn the page on the willful sabotage by Republicans by doing what the American people asked of them – make health care more affordable and accessible to all. With this set of bills, Democrats are continuing to show us they’re serious about delivering on their promise to voters to lower costs and improve care for all Americans.”

Background

The Health Subcommittee of the Committee on Energy and Commerce will consider the following bills:

H.R. 1425, the “State Health Care Premium Reduction Act” would provide $10 billion annually to states to establish a state reinsurance program or use the funds to provide financial assistance to reduce out-of-pocket costs for individuals enrolled in qualified health plans. The bill also requires the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to establish and implement a reinsurance program in states that do not apply for federal funding under the bill.

H.R.1386, the “Expand Navigators’ Resources For Outreach, Learning, And Longevity (ENROLL) Act” would provide $100 million annually for the Federally-facilitated Marketplace (FFM) navigator program. The bill would reinstate the requirement that there be at least two navigator entities in each state and would require the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to ensure that navigator grants are awarded to entities with demonstrated capacity to carry out the duties specified in the Affordable Care Act. The bill would also prohibit HHS from considering whether a navigator entity has demonstrated how it will provide information to individuals relating to association health plans or short-term, limited-duration insurance plans.

H.R.1385, the “State Allowance For A Variety Of Exchanges (SAVE) Act” would provide states with $200 million in federal funds to establish state-based Marketplaces. Under current law, federal funds are no longer available for states to set up state-based Marketplaces.  

Ahead of Trump’s State Of The Union Address, Protect Our Care Releases Ad Outlining Health Care Agenda For Congress

View The Ad: An Agenda for American Health Care

Washington, D.C. — Ahead of President Trump’s State Of The Union address tonight, Protect Our Care released a new digital ad outlining a health care agenda that responds to Americans’ call for lower prescription drug costs, more affordable health care, and enhanced protections for patients like those with pre-existing conditions. During the 2018 midterm elections, Americans went to the polls to voice their outrage over Republican attacks on health care and the result was clear: voters elected a “Health Care Congress” to lower costs, improve care and expand coverage. The ad will run heavily on social media today and during the State of the Union address tonight targeting voters, members of congress and their staff, and reporters covering the address.

“No matter what the president says tonight, his record is clear. This administration had two years to find ways to lower costs and improve health care coverage for Americans but instead worked overtime to repeal and sabotage American health care,” said Brad Woodhouse, executive director of Protect Our Care. “This ad lays out the agenda for health care the American people voted for in November and serves as a blueprint for action in 2019. The time has come for Congress to lower costs, safeguard protections, and rein in the greed and abuses of insurance companies and the pharmaceutical industry. The American people rejected the anti-health care agenda that has defined the Republican Party for almost a decade now. If Donald Trump and his Republican allies truly care about the state of our union, they would heed the message voters sent in November and end their war on health care.”  

Watch Protect Our Care’s new ad here:

Background:

Read Protect Our Care’s full 2019 Agenda here. A summary of the agenda from the report can be found below.

Do Everything Possible to Overturn the Federal Court Decision that Struck Down the Affordable Care Act

  • Oppose the Texas ruling by a conservative federal judge in the Northern District of Texas that overturned the entire Affordable Care Act by passing a Senate Resolution to similar to the House measure that authorizes the House legal counsel to intervene in the lawsuit and oppose the Republican attorneys general, governors, and Trump Administration who are continuing the war on health care through the courts.

End the War on People with Pre-Existing Conditions

  • Stop insurance companies from selling junk health insurance that allows them to deny quality, affordable coverage to people with pre-existing conditions.  These kinds of short term plans should be limited to three-months with no option for renewal.
  • Guarantee protections for pre-existing conditions and essential health benefits. Require all health plans to cover the “essential health benefits” included in the law, ensure guaranteed issue and community rating, and prohibit insurance companies from imposing lifetime and annual limits on the amount of care a patient can receive.

Lower Costs

  • Lower the costs of prescription drugs. Pass legislation to allow Medicare to negotiate drug prices for all beneficiaries; end price gouging by requiring drug manufacturers to give notice and justify significant price increases; and require transparency of rebate amounts.
  • End surprise medical bills. 57 percent of Americans have received a surprise bill. Too many  people go to a hospital or Emergency Room that is in their network, but get billed for services provided out-of-network, subjecting them to huge bills, as much as six figures. Congress should pass legislation to end surprise medical bills and limit the amount a provider can charge to a negotiated rate.  
  • Expand financial assistance by expanding the eligibility for premium tax credits above 400 percent of the federal poverty limit and increase the size of the tax credit for all income brackets.
  • Expand services before deductibles, examples would include three primary care visits and one specialist visit that are not subject to a plan’s deductible.

End Republican Sabotage

  • Fully support Open Enrollment by restoring funding to the pre-Trump levels and making all information about ways to sign up for coverage easily accessible for everyone.
  • Oppose waivers that undermine the ACA and allow states to skirt key provisions of the law.

Strengthen Medicaid and Medicare

  • Improve Medicare’s affordability by adding an out-of-pocket maximum after which beneficiaries would be protected from additional costs; including prescription drugs in the limit on out-of-pocket spending; adding coverage for vision, hearing, and dental; and making cost-sharing more affordable.
  • Extend and increase federal funding for Medicaid expansion.

Conduct Oversight on Trump Administration Actions that Undermine The Affordable Care Act

  • Topics to conduct oversight on include the Trump Justice Department’s decision not to defend all of the Affordable Care Act in federal court, cuts to outreach and navigator funding, rules opening the door to junk insurance, 1332 guidance that allows federal funds to be used to purchase skimpy health plans, relationships between Administration political appointees and regulated industries, the administration’s push to encourage states to impose work requirements on Medicaid coverage, drug prices and pharmaceutical profits.