Reps. Gomez, Underwood, O'Halleran Introduce Legislation to Lower Health Insurance Premiums

January 22, 2021
In The News

WASHINGTON, Jan. 22 -- Rep. Jimmy Gomez, D-California, issued the following news release on Jan. 21:

Representatives Jimmy Gomez (CA-34), Lauren Underwood (IL-14), and Tom O'Halleran (AZ-01) introduced the Health Care Affordability Act of 2021. The legislation - endorsed by Families USA - would lower health insurance premiums and out-of-pocket costs by making tax credits for Health Insurance Marketplace plans more generous and available to more Americans. The legislation would lower premiums for more than ten million people and reduce the number of uninsured Americans by millions more. The Health Care Affordability Act of 2021 would expand eligibility for premium tax credits beyond 400 percent of the federal poverty line and increase the size of the tax credit for all income brackets.

The policy, originally introduced in March 2019 to address skyrocketing health insurance costs and passed in the House in June 2020, was referenced in President-elect Biden's American Rescue Plan. The plan calls for Congress to "expand and increase the value of the Premium Tax Credit to lower or eliminate health insurance premiums" and ensure Americans "will not pay more than 8.5 percent of their income for coverage."

"Like far too many Americans, health insurance was a luxury my family simply couldn't afford when I was growing up," said Congressman Gomez. "While the Affordable Care Act has helped millions of Americans secure the coverage they needed, skyrocketing health care costs continue to wreak havoc on individuals and families nationwide. But with the reintroduction of the Health Care Affordability Act - and a Democratic majority in the House and Senate - we can support struggling Americans and protect them from being forced to make excruciating financial and medical trade-offs."

"Health care premiums and out-of-pocket costs are unaffordable for too many Illinoisans. Under my legislation, an Illinois couple over age 60 making $75,000 per year could see their premiums fall by over $1,000 per month, and an Illinois family of four making $110,000 could see their premiums fall by over $600 per month. That's real savings that people need now more than ever," said Congresswoman Underwood. "I am delighted to see President-elect Biden's American Rescue Plan supports lowering insurance costs, and look forward to working with my colleagues to pass the Health Care Affordability Act to lower premium costs and bring affordable health care within reach of millions more Americans."

"Families in rural and underserved communities, like many in Arizona's First Congressional District, have been forced to bear the brunt of marketplace instability over the last decade, often paying higher costs for lower quality services. Today, I'm proud to join Congresswoman Underwood to introduce a market-oriented solution to this issue. Our bill brings down health insurance costs for all Americans, increases marketplace stability, and takes a crucial step in addressing the gaps in care too many rural families experience," said Congressman O'Halleran.

"Families USA is proud to endorse the Health Care Affordability Act of 2021. This critical legislation takes significant steps towards protecting families and realizing the full promise of the Affordable Care Act: to provide affordable health coverage for every person in America. In the midst of the worst health and economic crisis in centuries - in which millions of people have lost their jobs and their health insurance due to the pandemic - now is the time for Congress to pass this essential bill," said Jen Taylor, Senior Director of Federal Relations, Families USA.

The Health Care Affordability Act of 2021 would address the high cost of health insurance premiums in the United States by:

* increasing the generosity of premium tax credits across all income levels, reducing the portion of the premium costs for millions of Americans; and

* expanding eligibility for premium tax credits to people with incomes above 400% of the federal poverty level (FPL), guaranteeing that anyone who buys Marketplace insurance can purchase a plan for 8.5% of their income or less.

For a PDF of the bill, click here: https://www.congress.gov/bill/117th-congress/house-bill/369?s=1&r=1

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