Legislation Builds on the Successes of the ACA to Lower Costs and Expand Coverage for Over 17 Million Americans

Washington, DC — Today the House of Representatives passed the “Patient Protection and Affordable Care Enhancement Act” a landmark bill introduced and championed by House Democrats to improve health care for Americans by building on key provisions in the Affordable Care Act. The bill lowers the costs of health insurance by offering increased financial assistance to more people, strengthens protections for pre-existing conditions and improves health care by incentivizing holdout states to expand Medicaid and expanding Medicaid eligibility for mothers 12 months postpartum. The bill will lead to coverage for 4 million additional people and lower health care costs for another 13 million, benefiting at least 17 million Americans at a time when expanded coverage and lower costs is paramount. The House has passed this landmark bill just days after the Trump administration and Republican-led states filed briefs in support of their lawsuit to overturn the ACA and rip health care from 23 million Americans in the middle of a pandemic and admitted they have no replacement plan if the court overturns the law. In response, Protect Our Care Chair Leslie Dach issued the following statement: 

“House Democrats under the leadership of Speaker Pelosi have delivered on their promise to lower costs, expand coverage, and strengthen protections for pre-existing conditions at a time when access to affordable health care has never been more critical. Today’s bill will help provide affordable health care for over 17 million Americans just as President Trump and Republicans double down on their lawsuit to take health care away from 23 million Americans and gut protections for 135 million people with pre-existing conditions. Republicans want to rip coverage away from millions of Americans in the middle of a public health crisis while Democrats voted to make health care more accessible and affordable for the American people — the choice is clear. Now it’s time for Mitch McConnell and Senate Republicans to decide if they want to prioritize the health and well-being of Americans or side with the president and his disastrous lawsuit to take health care away.”

BACKGROUND:

Democrats’ Sweeping Health Care Bill Would Provide Lower Costs, Better Care For American Families

House Democrats are keeping their promise to reduce health care costs and improve care for millions by introducing the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Enhancement Act (H.R. 1425). By putting an upper limit on how much insurance can cost a family, expanding the number of middle class families who can get financial support, and other cost reduction programs, millions of Americans will see their premiums reduced. The bill also improves health care by incentivizing holdout states to expand Medicaid and expanding Medicaid eligibility for mothers 12 months postpartum as well as increasing funding for outreach for open enrollment. The bill will lead to coverage for 4 million additional people and lower health care costs for another 13 million, benefiting at least 17 million Americans at a time when access to health care is paramount. 

While House Democrats take concrete steps to make our health care system work better for the American people, the Trump administration and its Republican allies are doing just the opposite: proposing to cut Medicare and Medicaid by billions of dollars, gutting protections for preexisting conditions, and throwing the full weight of the Justice Department behind overthrowing the Affordable Care Act in the Texas lawsuit. 

Lower Health Care Costs. The House bill would reduce health care premiums and deductibles, expand eligibility for financial assistance that helps consumers afford coverage, and expand access to affordable health care by guaranteeing affordable care options.

  • Coverage for less than 8.5 percent of your income. Under the Underwood bill, nearly all Americans would be guaranteed an option to purchase health care for less than 8.5 percent of their income. A family of four earning $40,000 would save nearly $1,600 in annual premiums, and a 64-year-old earning $57,420 would save more than $8,700 in premiums each year.
  • Financial assistance for more people. Premium tax credits would be made available to more middle class Americans, including those with incomes above 400 percent of the federal poverty line (roughly $100,400 for a family of four). It also expands the size of tax credits for people in all income brackets.
  • Lower premiums. The House legislation would help further reduce premiums by providing $10 billion annually to states through a national reinsurance program. The CBO estimates that premiums for individual market coverage before subsidies would be 10 percent lower beginning in 2022.
  • Negotiating prescription drug costs. The House bill includes important provisions from the Elijah E. Cummings Lower Drug Costs Now Act (H.R. 3), allowing Medicare to negotiate for lower drug prices for people enrolled through Medicare and private insurance. 

Better Care For More People. The House bill includes important provisions to expand health care to more people. In addition to lowering costs, the House bill would help more people access Medicaid and address racial disparities in health care coverage. 

  • Expanding Medicaid. The House bill incentivizes holdout states to expand Medicaid by restoring the enhanced federal match rate. If all states expanded Medicaid, an additional 4.8 million people would be eligible for coverage.
  • Reducing racial disparities in health care. The bill works to reduce racial disparities by addressing the maternal mortality crisis, expanding Medicaid to new mothers 12 months postpartum. It also ensures that children and families that enroll in Medicaid/CHIP receive 12 months of coverage to prevent coverage interruptions. 

End Sabotage. Since taking office, the Trump administration has worked relentlessly to sabotage Americans’ health care, expanding access to junk plans that allow insurance companies to deny coverage to patients with pre-existing conditions and slashing funding to help people sign up for comprehensive, affordable care. 

  • Protecting people with pre-existing conditions. The legislation would stop the Trump administration’s plans to allow insurance companies to sell junk plans that deny people with pre-existing conditions coverage or charge them more. It also reverses the Trump administration’s efforts to allow states waive pre-existing condition protections.
  • Guaranteeing that insurance companies cover basic health services. The bill would also prevent the Trump administration from weakening requirements that all insurance cover essential health benefits, such as prescription drug coverage, hospital care, and maternity coverage.
  • Restoring funding for education. The House bill would restore all marketing funding for healthcare sold through the marketplace, which the Trump administration has cut by 90 percent since taking office.
  • Restoring funding for groups that help people sign up for coverage. Funding for health navigator groups that help people sign up for comprehensive care, which has been cut by 77 percent since President Trump took office, would also be restored. The bill would provide $100 million annually to the federal navigator program.