New Dems Push to Keep Health Care Costs Low for Americans by Extending ACA Subsidies Without Delay
Reducing Health Care Costs is a Key Part of the NDC’s Action Plan to Fight Inflation
Today, New Democrat Coalition (NDC) Members, led by NDC Health Care Task Force Co-Chairs Terri Sewell (AL-07) and Kim Schrier (WA-08), sent a letter to Congressional leadership calling for urgent action on a budget reconciiation bill that extends the enhanced Affordable Care Act (ACA) subsidies and closes the Medicaid coverage gap. New Dems pushed for and successfully secured the ACA subsidies in the American Rescue Plan (ARP) and protecting access to affordable, quality health care in the face of Republican obstruction remains a top priority for the Coalition.
This effort follows the release of the Coalition's Action Plan to Fight Inflation, a comprehensive policy roadmap to lower the cost of living for Americans that Forbes called “the best inflation plan yet.” The Coalition’s plan calls for enacting a budget reconciliation bill that lowers health care costs by extending the ACA subsidies and closing the Medicaid coverage gap. If Congress does not act quickly to extend the ACA subsidies, millions of Americans could lose health care coverage or see their health care costs spike. During a time of rising prices, Americans cannot afford a price hike on their health care.
“The enhanced ACA subsidies that New Dems secured in the American Rescue Plan have lowered health care costs and expanded access to coverage for millions of Americans,” said NDC Chair Suzan DelBene (WA-01). “Today, our members are leading the effort to extend the enhanced ACA subsidies and close the Medicaid coverage gap as soon as possible because we know how important it is to keep health care costs low especially during this time of global inflation. We must act now to protect Americans health care and keep costs low by enacting our Action Plan to Fight Inflation.”
“The refusal to expand Medicaid in states like Alabama is unconscionable and deprives millions of low-income Americans access to health care,” said NDC Health Care Task Force Co-Chair Terri Sewell (AL-07). “With the American Rescue Plan’s enhanced ACA premium tax credits, we made critical progress in lowering costs and getting these Americans the coverage they deserve. Letting these tax credits expire would threaten to undo our progress, drive up health care costs, and strip Americans of their coverage. As co-chair of the Health Care Task Force, I was proud to lead my colleagues of the New Democrat Coalition in calling on leadership to prioritize extending these tax credits and closing the Medicaid coverage gap. We owe it to the American people to act now!”
“We need legislation to pass as soon as possible to lower health care costs. We took necessary steps to cap insurance premiums as part of the American Rescue Plan, and now we need a permanent solution,” said NDC Health Care Task Force Co-Chair Kim Schrier, M.D.. “I’m glad to join my New Dems colleagues in pressing for this important action. We should be doing everything we can right now to address costs, especially when many American families are struggling with rising prices.”
New Dems have called for extending the enhanced ACA subsidies and closing the Medicaid coverage gap since the start of reconciliation negotiations last year. New Dems will continue to work with President Biden and Congressional leadership to get this critical legislation over the finish line. legislation over the finish line.
Read the full letter here and below.
Dear Speaker Pelosi and Majority Leader Schumer,
As Members of the New Democrat Coalition, we write today to underline the importance of enacting legislation to lower health care costs without delay. Insurance premiums are being set as we write, and we fully anticipate that our constituents will see a dramatic rise in their premiums this October, on our watch.
We need action now to address costs, especially when Americans are struggling with broad price increases. As you continue to craft a reconciliation package, New Dems urge the inclusion of our health care reconciliation priorities of extending the enhanced advanced premium tax credits and filling the coverage gap in non-Medicaid expansion states.
New Dems were proud to unanimously support the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA), which built on the success of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) to bring down health care costs for consumers in the wake of COVID-19. But the impacts of the pandemic persist and are now compounded by the high costs of everything else. COVID continues to burden our health care system, and many people are just beginning to catch up on routine appointments. A recent report found that more than 1 in 5 adults with COVID are plagued with Long COVID. At the same time, our country is facing a mental health crisis. Health insurance coverage is a lifeline to care for our constituents.
Last year, thanks to the passage of the ARPA, New Dems delivered historic progress in increasing health care coverage and lowering costs. The enhanced advanced premium tax credits brought historic record enrollment on the ACA exchange as coverage became more affordable than ever. On average, monthly premiums for marketplace plans decreased by $50 per person and families saved an average of $2400 on their annual premiums with four out of five consumers finding quality coverage for under $10 a month.
Without Congressional action this fall to extend the advanced premium tax credits, millions of Americans face the prospect of losing health care coverage or seeing their premiums spike. Premiums are expected to increase by 53% for the 14 million people who buy their insurance from health insurance marketplaces. Failure to extend the enhanced advanced premium tax credits would result in a projected 3 million people on the ACA Marketplace becoming uninsured and 9.4 million people seeing dramatic increases in their annual premiums. With prices rising broadly, our constituents cannot afford these increased health insurance costs. This cannot happen on our watch, and we must cement our progress by enacting a budget reconciliation package that includes the enhanced advanced premium tax credits to keep costs down for Americans.
We urge that any reconciliation legislation include language extending coverage to Americans living in the Medicaid coverage gap. Republican-led states’ refusal to expand Medicaid under the ACA have deprived millions of Americans Medicaid coverage and benefits. Inclusion of these provisions are critical to increasing coverage and reducing health disparities that have disproportionately impacted people of color.
We thank you for your leadership and stand ready to work with you to deliver on the progress we have made for the American people. Our health care priorities of extending the enhanced advanced premium tax credits and filling the coverage gap in non-Medicaid expansion states have wide support throughout the Democratic Caucus, and we cannot let this opportunity to build on our progress go by.
NDC Health Care Task Force Co-Chairs Kim Schrier (WA-08) and Terri Sewell (AL-07), NDC Chair Suzan DelBene (WA-01), NDC Vice Chair Scott Peters (CA-52), NDC Vice Chair Sharice Davids (KS-03), NDC VIce Chair Ann McLane Kuster (NH-02), NDC Vice Chair Ami Bera (CA-7), NDC Whip Chrissy Houlahan (PA-06), NDC Leadership Member Brad Schneider (IL-10), NDC Leadership Member Stacey Plaskett (VI-AL), NDC Chair Emeritus Derek Kilmer (WA-06), NDC Freshman Leadership Representative Kathy Manning (NC-06), and Reps. Colin Allred (TX-32), Cindy Axne (IA-03), Don Beyer (VA-08), Carolyn Bourdeuax (GA-07), Shontel Brown (OH-11), Julia Brownley (CA-26), Salud Carbajal (CA-24), Tony Cardenas (CA-29), Troy Carter (LA-02), Joaquin Castro (TX-20), Jim Cooper (TN-05), Angie Craig (MN-02), Charlie Crist (FL-13), Jason Crow (CO-06), Henry Cuellar (TX-28), Madeleine Dean (PA-04), Val Demings (FL-10), Veronica Escobar (TX-16), Lizzie Fletcher (TX-07), Bill Foster (IL-11), Josh Gottheimer (NJ-05), Jim Himes (CT-04), Steven Horsford (NV-04), Ron Kind (WI-03), Raja Krishnamoorthi (IL-08), Rick Larsen (WA-02), Al Lawson (FL-05), Susie Lee (NV-03), Tom Malinowski (NJ-07), Frank Mrvan (IN-01), Donald Norcross (NJ-01), Jimmy Panetta (CA-20), Chris Pappas (NH-01), Dean Phillips (MN-03), Mike Quigley (IL-05), Deborah Ross (NC-02), Raul Ruiz (CA-36), Haley Stevens (MI-11), Marilyn Strickland (WA-10), Norma Torres (CA-35), David Trone (MD-06), Debbie Wasserman-Schultz (FL-23), Susan Wild (PA-07), Nikema Williams (GA-05)
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