April 22, 2021

New Democrat Coalition Members Urge President Biden to Build on the ACA and Advance Shared Health Care Priorities

Washington, DC – Today, New Democrat Coalition (NDC) Health Care Task Force Co-Chairs Kim Schrier (WA-08) and Terri Sewell (AL-07), with NDC Chair Suzan DelBene (WA-01) and other NDC Leadership, led Coalition Members in sending a letter to President Joe Biden outlining the Coalition’s health care priorities. NDC Members also urged President Biden to partner with the Coalition and build on the ACA toward universal access to quality, affordable health care coverage, and care in the American Family Plan.

NDC Leadership Members hand-delivered the letter to the White House and further discussed their shared priorities in a meeting with White House Chief of Staff Ron Klain, Counselor Steve Ricchetti, and Legislative Affairs Director Louisa Terrell yesterday. The Members write,

“Over a decade after the passage of the Obama-Biden administration’s landmark health care legislation, we are eager to work with the Biden-Harris administration to fortify and build on the ACA to achieve universal coverage with access to affordable, quality care. Members of the New Democrat Coalition have championed legislation to lower health care costs, stabilize the individual markets, and expand coverage. Significant strides have already been made through both your executive action and COVID-19 relief packages, including the American Rescue Plan, and we look forward to advancing these and other critical solutions as we build back better.”

NDC Members also urged President Biden to include the Coalition’s priorities in the American Family Plan:

“Together, we now have an opportunity to protect and expand the progress you and President Obama made to ensure more Americans can access affordable coverage and care. Our approach must be comprehensive, innovative, ambitious, and built for long-lasting success. We believe these priorities should be prioritized as part of the build back better agenda and ask that you work with the NDC and its Members to make universal access to quality, affordable health insurance coverage and care a reality.”

Last month, the NDC relaunched its Health Care Task Force for the 117th Congress. The NDC has championed efforts in Congress to lower health care costs, increase access to affordable coverage, and stabilize and strengthen the Affordable Care Act. The NDC is prioritizing protecting and expanding Americans’ access to health care as part of their 100 Day Agenda.

The full letter can be found here and below.

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Dear President Biden, 

The New Democrat Coalition (NDC) is comprised of 94 forward-looking Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives seeking durable solutions to tackle the challenges and seize the opportunities of the twenty-first century. In the first one hundred days, the NDC has been working to advance policies in the U.S. House of Representatives to ensure people are protected from high health care costs, everyone is covered, and care is easier to access. The NDC has led the charge to put solutions over politics and stabilize and strengthen the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

The ACA has brought health and financial security to millions of Americans and driven the uninsured rate to historic lows by expanding health care coverage to more than 20 million Americans, securing coverage of critical preventative treatments and screenings, and protecting coverage for over 100 million Americans with preexisting conditions. In the decade since the ACA’s historic passage, our nation has seen better health outcomes and stunted the accelerating costs of health care seen before the ACA. The consumer protections, targeted cost reductions, investments in state marketplaces, and the expanded and strengthened Medicaid program formed the foundation of the ACA and have given families peace of mind. Despite years of partisan attacks and destabilizing policies that jeopardized access to affordable health coverage and care for millions of Americans, the ACA is more popular and more important than ever. We are grateful for the early action your administration has already taken to reverse many of these harmful policies, protect the ACA, and expand access to affordable health care coverage. We were also proud to support additional critical ACA affordability provisions included in the American Rescue Plan.

Over a decade after the passage of the Obama-Biden administration’s landmark health care legislation, we are eager to work with the Biden-Harris administration to fortify and build on the ACA to achieve universal coverage with access to affordable, quality care. Members of the New Democrat Coalition have championed legislation to lower health care costs, stabilize the individual markets, and expand coverage. Significant strides have already been made through both your executive action and COVID-19 relief packages, including the American Rescue Plan, and we look forward to advancing these and other critical solutions as we build back better.

As you work to develop and advance the American Families Plan, we respectfully request that you work with us to include several NDC priorities to strengthen and expand on the ACA. These include:

  • Stabilizing ACA marketplaces and reduce premiums with a national reinsurance program as proposed in the State Health Care Premium Reduction Act;
  • Capping families’ health costs with permanent expansions of the premium tax credit and other enhancements in the American Rescue Plan aimed at reducing deductibles and other out-of-pocket expenses
  • Simplifying enrollment for an estimated 4 million people by encouraging states to auto-enroll uninsured individuals who qualify for $0 premium health plans and for 5 million people who qualify for Medicaid or CHIP;
  • Incentivizing states that have not expanded Medicaid to increase coverage to newly eligible individuals with a 100 percent federal match, building on the base rate increase for expansion states under the American Rescue Plan;
  • Embracing and fostering existing value-based models which were permanently authorized under the ACA and have demonstrated the ability to simultaneously improve quality and reduce costs;
  • Exploring other innovations, to increase choice and competition and close coverage gaps;
  • Improving coverage and cost transparency for patient care, and streamlining the prior authorization process;
  • Addressing provider shortages, especially in rural, economically distressed, and underrepresented minority communities, and embracing expanded telehealth and home care under the CARES Act and the American Rescue Plan;
  • Modernizing and expanding supplemental benefits and exploring innovative payment mechanisms aimed at eliminating the financial and health burdens that barriers such as poor transportation and internet access have on underserved, elderly, and rural populations and our health care system writ large;
  • Expanding health care savings and spending vehicles for workers and families.

Together, we now have an opportunity to protect and expand the progress you and President Obama made to ensure more Americans can access affordable coverage and care. Our approach must be comprehensive, innovative, ambitious, and built for long-lasting success. We believe these priorities should be prioritized as part of the build back better agenda and ask that you work with the NDC and its Members to make universal access to quality, affordable health insurance coverage and care a reality. 

Sincerely,

 

Signers: Reps. Kim Schrier, Terri Sewell, Suzan DelBene, Scott Peters, Ami Bera, Sharice Davids, Annie Kuster, Chrissy Houlahan, Kathy Manning, Brad Schneider, Derek Kilmer, Colin Allred, Cindy Axne, Don Beyer, Carolyn Bourdeaux, Anthony Brown, Julia Brownley, Cheri Bustos, Salud Carbajal, André Carson, Ed Case, Sean Casten, Jim Cooper, Jim Costa, Angie Craig, Charlie Crist, Jason Crow, Madeleine Dean, Lizzie Fletcher, Bill Foster, Josh Gottheimer, Sara Jacobs, Ron Kind, Rick Larsen, Elaine Luria, Tom Malinowski, Lucy McBath, Gregory Meeks, Joe Morelle, Tom O’Halleran, Jimmy Panetta, Kathleen Rice, Deborah Ross, Mikie Sherrill, Haley Stevens, Maryland Strickland, Tom Suozzi, Norma Torres, David Trone, Marc Veasey, Susan Wild, and Debbie Wasserman Schultz.



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