The COVID-19 pandemic has increased the strain on our healthcare system, and Pennsylvanians and their families have been hit hard with financial burdens related to loss of jobs and higher costs for health coverage. Yesterday, the U.S. House voted to pass a bill, the State Health Care Premium Reduction Act, to make healthcare more affordable during the pandemic.
The State Health Care Premium Reduction Act (HR 1425) Would:
Make Marketplace Coverage More Affordable for More People:
For the millions of Americans who buy their insurance through the Affordable Care Act marketplace, the proposed legislation would expand access to financial assistance for marketplace health insurance to more families. It would also increase how much financial help households receive and reduce the premiums families pay for their coverage, even eliminating it in some cases. The legislation would also allow more people who have offers of employer-based coverage that is unaffordable to receive financial assistance through the marketplace.
Make Other Improvements to the Affordable Care Act, including:
- Reversing the Trump Administration’s expansion of short-term insurance plans that are not required to cover pre-existing conditions or the essential health benefits.
- Restoring outreach and enrollment funds cut by the Administration.
- Encouraging states to reduce premiums by reimbursing insurers for part of their costs for high-cost enrollees.
Encourage Hold-Out States to Expand Medicaid
Pennsylvania has expanded Medicaid, but 14 states do not have this expansion under the ACA. This leaves 2 million people uninsured. The legislation would incentivize hold-out states to expand Medicaid.
Improve Medicaid Coverage
The legislation takes a number of steps to improve Medicaid coverage, like requiring states to provide continuous coverage over a 12-month period, extending postpartum eligibility, and more.
The Passage of HR 1425 Comes as the Trump Administration Attempts to Overturn the ACA
Last week, the Trump Administration and state attorneys general filed briefs in support of their lawsuit that seeks to strike down the Affordable Care Act. If the lawsuit succeeds, 20 million people would lose health insurance, and millions more would face higher costs for health insurance and receiving care.
This is incredibly reckless; an estimated 858,000 Pennsylvanians would lose health coverage in the midst of a pandemic and economic crisis if the lawsuit succeeds. The lawsuit would create chaos in our healthcare system and would put many others at risk, including nearly 1 in 2 Pennsylvanians with a pre-existing condition.
PHAN supports the State Health Care Premium Reduction Act (HR 1425) and its goal to make health coverage and access to care more affordable. We call on the Administration to end the Texas v. Azar lawsuit and instead work to make coverage more affordable.