CAPAC Chair Statement on the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Enhancement Act

Jun 29, 2020

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, the House of Representatives passed H.R. 1425, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Enhancement Act. This bill makes healthcare more accessible by expanding tax credits to help more middle-class individuals and families to qualify for subsidies in the Marketplace, ensuring that no person will pay more than 8.5 percent of their income on a silver plan in the Marketplace. This bill also includes an amendment that would make DACA recipients eligible for tax credits, so they can access affordable coverage. Families who don’t have an offer of affordable family coverage from an employer could qualify for subsidies in the Marketplaces under this legislation, and it provides funding for reinsurance initiatives to further lower premiums, deductibles, and other out-of-pocket costs as well. In order to help bring healthcare costs down, this bill includes provisions of the Elijah E. Cummings Lower Drug Costs Now Act, (H.R. 3), which allows the Secretary of HHS to negotiate for the prices of high-cost prescription drugs, and ensures that Americans are not paying significantly higher prices for the same drugs that are sold much cheaper internationally, including insulin. In addition to ensuring adequate and affordable coverage, H.R. 1425 reverses the Trump Administration’s expansion of junk health insurance plans, and 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. The bill renews the ACA’s original expanded federal matching to encourage states to expand Medicaid, protects vulnerable populations from losing health coverage by ensuring that Medicaid and CHIP beneficiaries receive a full 12 months of coverage once enrolled. This provision ensures that these populations are protected from coverage interruptions due to fluctuations in their income throughout the year. Last, it protects Medicaid beneficiaries’ access to primary care physicians, by reauthorizing the ACA’s increased payments to primary care physicians who treat Medicaid recipients. Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus Chair (CAPAC) Rep. Judy Chu (CA-27) issued the following statement:

“Last week, as COVID-19 cases continued to spread – even reaching historic highs – and as the number of Americans killed by this virus rose well above 100,000, President Trump asked the Supreme Court to strike down the entire Affordable Care Act. If Trump and Republicans got their way, millions of Americans would immediately lose their health insurance in the middle of a pandemic, with no alternative available. Losing health insurance would threaten the lives of millions, especially as we battle COVID-19. That is why I am so proud to the House voted to pass the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Enhancement Act today. This bill would build on the success of the ACA by expanding tax credits and incentivizing states to expand Medicaid, to ensure more Americans have access to health insurance, not fewer. And it expands eligibility for these credits so that Dreamers can access affordable healthcare as well. We know the coronavirus does not discriminate and neither should we. Providing healthcare for everyone in our country is something we know will benefit entire communities.

“We don’t just want Americans to have insurance. We want them to have insurance that meets their needs without bankrupting them. That is why this bill undoes the Trump Administration’s expansion of ‘junk insurance plans,’ which offer minimal coverage and leave patients with massive bills when they do get sick. And to help bring healthcare costs down, this bill includes language from H.R. 3, the Elijah Cummings Lower Drug Costs Now Act. This will allow for the government to negotiate for the prices of prescription drugs, bringing our prescription drug prices in line with what they cost overseas.

“By increasing access, lowering costs, and protecting patients, this bill will help save lives at a time when healthcare has never been more important. Instead of following Donald Trump’s dangerous lead and gutting the ACA, I urge my colleagues in the Senate to join us by passing this crucial legislation.”