HARRISBURG, PA – Today, President Biden announced the latest framework for the Build Back Better package. Antoinette Kraus, Executive Director of the Pennsylvania Health Access Network, released the following statement in response:
“The new framework for Build Back Better announced today is an historic moment for hardworking Pennsylvania families, seniors, and people with disabilities. It includes necessary steps to lower the cost of healthcare through continued Affordable Care Act subsidies and provides expanded funding to help seniors and people with disabilities live with dignity in their communities. It is profoundly disappointing that the Build Back Better framework fails to address the most pressing need for Pennsylvania families when it comes to healthcare: lowering the cost of prescription drugs.
The new Build Back Better plan will significantly reduce health insurance premium costs for people who purchase their health insurance through the marketplace. The hundreds of thousands of Pennsylvanians who rely on Pennie for their health insurance will continue to benefit from the cost-savings established in the American Rescue Plan. 50% of premiums are now under $1, 65% of plan premiums are now under $10, and over 75% are now under $100.
The new Build Back Better plan fails to tackle out-of-control prescription drug prices, one of the most popular and pressing provisions proposed in earlier versions of the plan. Congress must not give in to drug corporations, who have lobbied heavily against drug pricing reform. They must come back to the table and deliver on their promise to provide relief for Americans struggling to afford life-saving medications.
Congress’s failure on prescription drug costs also shows that Harrisburg must act. 1 in 2 Pennsylvanians struggle to afford their prescriptions and 9 in 10 across party lines want lawmakers to lower the cost of medications. Legislation has already been introduced in both chambers of the Pennsylvania General Assembly to lower prescription drug prices. PHAN calls on members of the PA General Assembly to move quickly to pass SB 579, HB 321, or HB 1722 to provide much-needed relief to Pennsylvanians struggling to pay for their medications.
The expansion of home- and community-based services through Medicaid is a game-changing investment that will allow more seniors and people with disabilities to safely live in their homes and communities with dignity. Expanding Medicare to include hearing benefits is also a significant win for seniors and others covered through Medicare, but we are disappointed to see that dental and vision benefits are no longer part of the Build Back Better plan.
Thanks to the American Rescue Plan Act, low-cost, high-quality health insurance plans are already available to Pennsylvanians through Pennie.com. Open Enrollment for 2022 plans begins Monday, November 1, 2021 and ends January 15, 2022. Our free statewide helpline can help people figure out their options at 877-570-3642 or [email protected].”