Despite the Affordable Care Act’s major improvements to the country’s health insurance system, health care costs remain unaffordable for many families. Much attention has focused on the problems of people with incomes too high for federal financial assistance, but comparable or greater problems affect low-wage workers and moderate-income families.
Maryland's Down Payment Plan: Helping People Get Health Insurance and Lowering Families' Health Costs
Both before and especially after President Trump and his congressional allies ended federal enforcement of the ACA’s individual mandate, several states established their own enforcement systems. Maryland’s lawmakers are proposing an innovative “down payment plan” that uses a more enrollment-oriented approach to requiring people with affordable access to health coverage to obtain insurance. Instead of imposing tax penalties on the uninsured, the Maryland proposal helps the uninsured enroll into coverage whenever possible.
This advocacy agenda offers options for improving health and health care at the state level during the 2019 session. It includes state policy options to consider in 2019 regarding private insurance coverage, Medicaid, oral health coverage, health equity, prescription drugs, surprise medical bills, and health care value.
Due to changes made through recent federal rules issued by the Trump administration, small businesses and self-employed business owners can buy health plans through associations that are exempt from many state and federal regulations. These new rules leave consumers without important protections. For example, Association Health Plans (AHPs) don’t have to cover all of the benefits that other plans sold to individual and small businesses must cover.
Amici Curiae Brief of Families USA, Community Catalyst, The National Health Law Program, The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, and Service Employees International Union Supporting Intervenor Defendants-Appellants and Reversal of the District Court
Families USA filed an amicus brief in the Texas v. US case that threatens the entire Affordable Care Act, on appeal in the US Court of Appeals of the Fifth Circuit. Cosigners of the amicus include the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, Community Catalyst, the National Health Law Program and the Service Employees International Union (SEIU).
The Return of Churn: State Paperwork Barriers Caused More Than 1.5 Million Low-Income People to Lose Their Medicaid Coverage in 2018
In 2018, enrollment in Medicaid and the Children's Health Insurance Program decreased by about 1.6 million enrollees, 744,000 of which were children. There is strong evidence that a driving factor of the decline in enrollment is state policy decisions to engage in punitive annual (or even monthly) eligibility redetermination processes in which large percentages of Medicaid enrollees lose coverage.
Families USA submitted comments on the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Request for Information (RFI) concerning Health Care Choice Compacts. This RFI seeks to “facilitate the purchase of health insurance coverage across state lines.” We have long expressed concerns about policies that are designed to allow the sale of coverage across state lines if these policies do not include robust consumer protections.
On April 18, 2019, the Trump Administration finalized the Notice of Benefit and Payment Parameters for 2020 (NBPP). This rule will govern health insurance marketplaces and set the framework for insurance companies to propose plans and premium rates for 2020. Consumer advocates achieved several important victories in the final 2020 NBPP. Contrarily, the final rule also establishes harmful changes that will decrease access to high-quality, affordable coverage and care for families across the country.
Families USA submitted the attached letter to U.S. House of Representatives Leadership in support of H.R. 987, the Strengthening Health Care and Lowering Prescription Drug Costs Act.