One popular aspect of the Affordable Care Act is its requirement that all individual and small group health plans (for people who don’t have traditional job-based coverage) cover important health benefits like maternity, mental health, preventive, and pediatric dental care. Members of Congress and the Trump administration have frequently proposed measures that would eliminate or undermine these essential health benefits (EHBs), as they are known.
CMS has approved work requirements (sometimes spun as “community engagement” requirements) in three states: Arkansas, Kentucky, and Indiana. Eight additional states have similar requests pending, and CMS appears likely to approve those requests, as well. Litigation challenging the authority of the executive branch to approve work requirements—rules that are contained nowhere in Medicaid law—have also begun.
Enacting the new proposal from Senator Lamar Alexander (R-TN) will be worse for consumers than if Congress does nothing at all to stabilize the individual insurance market. If this is the best package members can produce, we encourage Congress to reject it.
Under the Guise of “Health Insurance Stabilization,” Congress Should Not Axe Financial Help for Low-Wage Families
In negotiations over stabilizing the individual health insurance market, lawmakers are considering slashing federal health care assistance for low- and moderate-income consumers by more than $27 billion a year.
High and rising prescription drug prices force consumers to skip doses or even avoid filling their prescriptions for life-saving medications altogether. Now is the perfect time for Congress to finally begin to take action by including the bipartisan CREATES Act in the omnibus legislation to fund the government, which must pass Congress by March 23rd.
Funding CSR Payments in the Health Insurance Stabilization Package Could Harm Low- and Middle-Income Consumers
Families USA strongly supports bipartisan efforts to give consumers affordable health insurance in the individual market. A successful stabilization bill would enhance affordability and access by raising advance premium tax credits (APTCs), funding reinsurance, financing outreach and enrollment assistance, and stopping proposed regulations that would let short-term plans and association health plans (AHPs) substantially undermine the individual market.