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.
Some favor reinstating the ACA’s temporary reinsurance program, which would lower premiums for people ineligible for federal assistance. That would help many families struggling with unaffordable costs, but most of the money would benefit relatively affluent people who require little help. Congress should instead consider a more focused, two-part policy: (1) provide more financial help to low- and moderate-income families, which would reduce the number of uninsured, improve insurance risk pools, and lower premiums for everyone; and (2) lift the ACA’s artificial income cap on eligibility for assistance.