May 04, 2018

On Anniversary of the House Passing Republican’s Health Care Repeal Bill, New Dems Highlight Efforts to Improve ACA

Today is the one-year anniversary of House Republicans passing a bill to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and jeopardize millions of American’s health care. The New Democrat Coalition strongly opposed any effort to repeal the ACA. Instead, we remain committed to working to improve the ACA in a bipartisan way to lower costs, expand access and address the kitchen table anxieties families across the political spectrum experience.

On May 4, 2017 the Republican health care repeal legislation passed the House by a vote of 217 to 213, with 92 percent of Republicans voting in support. Had it also been passed by the Senate, this monstrosity of a bill would have imposed a cruel age tax on older Americans, dismantled protections for people with pre-existing conditions, raised health care costs, shortened the life of the Medicare Trust Fund, and resulted in 23 million hard-working Americans losing their health coverage.

There was a better approach. At the beginning of 2017, New Democrat Coalition Members urged Speaker Ryan to abandon his efforts to repeal the ACA and instead work with Democrats to make the ACA better. Access to lifesaving health care is not a partisan issue, and any improvements to the ACA will only occur through bipartisan cooperation.

Following the May 4 vote, in an effort to protect and improve the ACA, the New Democrat Coalition Healthcare Task Force Co-Chairs Congressman Ami BeraRep. Kurt Schrader, and Annie Kuster led other Members in the House of Representatives in releasing a set of proposals targeted at stabilizing the individual health insurance market and bringing down the cost of healthcare for all Americans.

The New Dem-led set of proposals to stabilize the market and make health care more affordable for American families:

  • Guaranteed cost-sharing payments to reduce out-of-pocket costs for consumers
  • Dedicated reinsurance funds to keep premium costs down
  • Increased insurance coverage through outreach and enforcement
  • Additional flexibility to create more affordable insurance options while protecting consumers
  • Marketplace improvements and technical changes

These proposals served as a catalyst that garnered bipartisan support for ACA individual marketplace improvements that would provide certainty to insurers and consumers, limit premium increases, and stabilize the market.

But we didn’t stop there. Just last week, New Dem Healthcare Task Force Co-Chair Congressman Ami Bera, along with fellow Co-Chairs Rep. Kurt Schrader, and Annie Kuster, introduced two bills to expand access to affordable health care, simplify enrollment, and empower States to innovate. The two bills, the Pathway to Universal Coverage Act and the Easy Enrollment Act, build on the Coalition’s continued work to improve access to affordable health care for all Americans.

Right now, more than 25 million Americans remain uninsured and the Trump administration’s actions have triggered double-digit premium increases. To further improve health care, we must work towards universal coverage, increasing flexibility and choices for consumers to further reduce skyrocketing health care costs. Congress must now take on a bipartisan approach that paves the way for long-term stability and predictability in the individual market so health care returns to a kitchen-table rather than a partisan issue.

By:  New Democrat Coalition