Eshoo Hails Passage of Legislation to Strengthen Affordable Care Act

June 29, 2020
Press Release
New bill will lower premiums and insure nearly 5 million more Americans

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, Health Subcommittee Chairwoman Anna G. Eshoo (CA-18) voted for the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Enhancement Act which strengthens the Affordable Care Act (ACA) by lowering premiums of health insurance marketplace plans, strengthens protections for individuals with preexisting conditions, cracks down on junk insurance plans approved by the Trump Administration, and provides health insurance coverage to nearly five million more Americans. The legislation also requires the federal government to negotiate with pharmaceutical companies to lower the cost of prescription drugs.

“This legislation delivers on the promise to the American people to undo the Trump Administration’s sabotage of the Affordable Care Act and make health care affordable for every American,” said Rep. Eshoo. “In the middle of the worst pandemic in a century and a recession, the Trump Administration and Congressional Republicans are supporting a lawsuit before the Supreme Court to strike down the entirety of the ACA, which would immediately rip health insurance away from at least 20 million Americans, allow insurers to impose lifetime limits on coverage, deny coverage to individuals with preexisting conditions, and increase prescription drug costs for Medicare enrollees.

“The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Enhancement Act does the opposite,” continued Rep. Eshoo. “It ensures no American will pay more than 8.5 percent of their income for ACA insurance premiums, expands Medicaid to cover nearly 5 million more Americans, requires states to provide Medicaid or Children’s Health Insurance Program coverage to new mothers for one year post-partum, and eliminates junk insurance plans that do not provide essential services and allow insurers to discriminate against Americans with preexisting conditions. I’m proud that many of the bills in this package originated in my Health Subcommittee.” 

Background

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Enhancement Act:

Lowers Americans’ health coverage costs

  • Expands tax credits to lower Americans’ Marketplace health insurance premiums and allow more middle-class individuals and families to qualify for subsidies – for the first time, no person will pay more than 8.5 percent of their income on a silver plan in the Marketplaces:
    • A family of four earning $40,000 would save nearly $1,600 in premiums each year.
    • A 64-year-old earning $57,420 would save more than $8,700 in premiums each year.
    • A single adult with income of $31,900 would see premiums cut in half.
    • An adult earning $19,140 would see premiums cut to zero, saving $800 dollars a year.
  • Ensures that families who don’t have an offer of affordable family coverage from an employer can qualify for subsidies in the Marketplaces.
  • Provides funding for reinsurance initiatives to further lower premiums, deductibles, and other out-of-pocket costs.

Negotiates lower prescription drug prices

  • Includes the transformational drug price negotiation mechanism from the Elijah E. Cummings Lower Drug Costs Now Act, (H.R. 3), which delivers immense savings to taxpayers, employers, workers and patients by preventing Americans from having to pay so much more for our medicines than pharmaceutical companies charge for the same drugs overseas. 

Expands coverage & pushes hold-out states to adopt Medicaid expansion

  • Presses Medicaid expansion hold-out states to reconsider by renewing the ACA’s original expanded federal matching for states that adopt the Medicaid expansion and progressively reducing administrative FMAP for those who continue to refuse.  More than 4.8 million Americans have been cruelly excluded from coverage because states have refused to expand Medicaid.   
  • Funds critical federal and state efforts to increase health coverage enrollment, educate consumers of their health care rights, and help individuals navigate the health insurance system.
  • Delivers funding for states who want to establish their own state-based Marketplaces.

Combats inequity in health coverage faced by communities of color

  • Fights the maternal mortality epidemic by requiring states to extend Medicaid or CHIP coverage to new mothers for 1-year post-partum.
  • Protects vulnerable populations from losing health coverage by ensuring that Medicaid and CHIP beneficiaries receive a full 12 months of coverage once enrolled, protecting them from interruptions due to fluctuations in their income throughout the year.
  • Improves Medicaid beneficiaries’ access to primary care physicians, by reauthorizing the ACA’s increased payments to primary care physicians who treat Medicaid recipients.

Cracks down on junk plans & strengthens protections for people with pre-existing conditions

  • Reverses the Trump Administration’s expansion of junk health insurance plans that do not provide coverage for essential medical treatments and drugs, and that are allowed to discriminate against people with pre-existing medical conditions.
  • Curtails the Trump Administration’s efforts to give states waivers to undermine protections for people with pre-existing conditions and weaken standards for essential health benefits.

Video of Congresswoman Eshoo’s floor remarks can be found here.

Congresswoman Eshoo is Chairwoman of the House Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee.

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