House Democrats Strengthen ACA, While Trump Asks Supreme Court to Tear Law Down
(Tucson, A.Z) – Today, Rep. Kirkpatrick took bold action to build on the Affordable Care Act to lower health costs and prescription drug prices for all Americans by joining House Democrats to pass the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Enhancement Act. Today’s vote comes days after the Trump Administration filed a brief asking the Supreme Court to strike down the entirety of the ACA.
“In the midst of a pandemic, access to quality, affordable health care is more important than ever for families throughout Arizonans and across the country,” said Rep. Kirkpatrick. “I have been fighting tirelessly since day one to expand coverage for all Americans and to oppose the Administration’s outrageous legal campaign to sabotage Americans’ health care. Today’s passage of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Enhancement Act takes bold action to deliver the lower health costs and prescription drug prices that hard-working Americans need.”
The bill significantly increases the ACA’s affordability subsidies to be more generous and cover more middle-class families. For the first time, no person will have to pay more than 8.5 percent of their income for a benchmark silver plan in the ACA marketplaces, and many Americans will see their premiums cut in half or more:
- 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.
The bill negotiates for lower prescription drug prices, delivering the power to negotiate lower drug prices so that Americans no longer have to pay more for our medicines than Big Pharma charges for the same drugs overseas. According to a new report from Patients for Affordable Drugs, from January to June, 245 drugs were subject to an average price increase of more than 20 percent. Of these drugs with price hikes by Big Pharma, more than 75 percent directly relate to the COVID-19 crisis, including 30 drugs that are currently in clinical trials for their effect against the virus.
The bill expands coverage, pressing Medicaid expansion hold-out states with new carrots and sticks to adopt coverage for the 4.8 million Americans cruelly excluded from coverage, while restoring the outreach and advertising funding that the Trump Administration has slashed to prevent Americans from learning about the affordable health coverage available to them under the ACA.
The bill combats inequity in health coverage faced by communities of color, expanding more affordable coverage to vulnerable populations and fighting the maternal mortality epidemic by requiring states to extend Medicaid or CHIP coverage to new mothers for a full year post-partum.
The bill cracks down on junk plans & strengthens protections for people with pre-existing conditions, reversing 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.
“I made a promise and commitment to our community- to lower the cost of health care for Arizona families,” continued Rep. Kirkpatrick. “I am proud to join my colleagues to pass this critical legislation to fulfill that promise for all Americans. As we combat the growing coronavirus crisis, I will continue to demand an end to the Administration’s dangerous lawsuit to destroy the ACA and call on Republicans to join us to ensure all Americans have access to the quality, affordable care they need to stay healthy and safe.”
A fact sheet on the provisions of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Enhancement Act is available here. # # #