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Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Hope for Our Nation’s Families as Congress Turns the Page

Today, an important new phase begins in the seemingly endless debates over U.S. health care. For the first time in many years, a committee of the U.S. Congress – the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions, aptly termed the “HELP” Committee—is holding open hearings in a bipartisan quest to find practical solutions that improve Americans’ access to affordable, quality health coverage and care. 

Their urgent, short-term mission focuses on the need to stabilize the individual health insurance market, where 7 percent of Americans obtain coverage. But much more remains to be done to improve the country’s system of coverage and care and the health of our nation. 

We have made tremendous progress since the Affordable Care Act’s enactment. The number of uninsured has fallen by roughly 20 million; total bankruptcies are at half of pre-ACA levels; access to care is up; and medical debt is down. 

The country cannot rest on its laurels, however. We continue to face daunting challenges that will not be easy to overcome. Only bipartisanship offers the hope of solutions that prove both effective and sustainable. 

Families USA applauds the members of Congress who are coming together to carve out a shared path forward. We hope their courageous efforts bear fruit in the near term with a widely-supported stabilization package that safeguards consumers in the individual market. See Families USA's letter to Congress, co-signed by nearly 100 consumer, patient, and provider groups urging swift action to stabilize insurance markets.

More broadly, we hope that today’s hearings become an early step toward sustained, bipartisan health policymaking that is practical, that focuses on solutions, and that places the needs of our nation’s families front and center, including those who are vulnerable or disadvantaged. 

Families USA looks forward to working with leaders in both parties, as well as independents, to ensure that the best health and health care become a blessing enjoyed by us all.