Healthcare.gov is now open for business! Until December 15th, consumers can enroll in comprehensive health plans that will start on January 1st 2019. High-quality coverage purchased through healthcare.gov (or a state’s marketplace) includes protections for preexisting conditions and a robust set of essential health benefits like preventive services, prescription drugs, mental health care, and hospital coverage.
On November 6th, we saw a “Health Care Wave” sweep across the country altering the balance of power in Washington and across state capitols across the country. Exit polls revealed what we long suspected: health care was one of the most important issues on the minds of voters, and in particular people who voted for Democrats. Democrats, who needed 23 additional seats to retake the House of Representatives, have gained are on track to gain at least 35 seats.
Hundreds of Thousands of People Are Losing their Health Insurance Because of Trump Administration Policies
The Trump Administration has announced initial enrollment numbers for the federally-run Healthcare.gov exchange, which provides individual and small group coverage for the 39 states that do not operate their own state-based exchange. Enrollment was significantly lower than last year—a total of 8.45 million people enrolled representing a drop of 4.2 percent from 2017’s level of 8.82 million and an aggregate drop of over 8 percent from 2016’s level of 9.2 million. This represents a significant blow to the financial security and health of America’s families.
UPDATE: 1/8/19 - Links to Families USA's comments on the proposed Program Integrity Rule are available here.
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).