Washington, D.C., March 26, 2019 — Major legislation introduced today in the House of Representatives would amend the Affordable Care Act (ACA) to improve access and affordability of health care. The bill, the Protecting Pre-Existing Conditions and Making Health Care More Affordable Act of 2019, was introduced by Energy and Commerce Chairman Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ-6), Ways and Means Chairman Richard Neal (D-MA-1) and Education and Labor Chairman Bobby Scott (D-VA-3).
Yesterday, the Administration dramatically reversed its position on the Texas vs. U.S. case, now supporting the U.S. district court’s ruling to strike down the entire ACA. Previously, the administration argued that certain protections for people with pre-existing conditions should be struck down, but the rest of the law should stand.
If the district court ruling is ultimately upheld by the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, as the Administration wants, it would eliminate major protections for people with pre-existing conditions, abolish Medicaid expansion, repeal the rule that allows people to stay on their parents’ insurance until they are 26, remove caps on maximum out of pocket limits, and bring back annual and lifetime limits on coverage.
The patient and consumer organizations supporting this legislative package oppose the new Administration position and urge legislative actions to strengthen the ACA.
Twenty-six national patient, consumer and health advocacy groups issued the following statement in response to the bill introduced today in the House:
“Our organizations, which collectively represent millions of patients and consumers, wholeheartedly support this important legislation to strengthen and expand health care for all Americans.
“The ACA made great strides in improving health care in our nation by breaking down the barriers to coverage faced by people with chronic disease, disability, and other serious health conditions. Repeated attempts to weaken the ACA have resurrected some of those barriers and put the stability of the ACA insurance markets at risk. We adamantly oppose the position of the Administration on the Texas v. U.S. ruling and urge legislative action, like this bill, to strengthen the provisions within the ACA that limit out of pocket costs and assert patient protections.
“This bill would take concrete steps to reduce costs for consumers; ensure quality coverage; support enrollment and outreach, including expansion of the Health Care Navigator program; and eliminate short-term, limited-duration plans, which discriminate against individuals with pre-existing conditions.
“The ACA represented major progress toward ensuring all people with pre-existing conditions have access to affordable health care. This bill improves upon the law’s foundation to make that goal a reality.”
Adult Congenital Heart Association
American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network
American Heart Association
American Liver Foundation
American Lung Association
Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation
Cystic Fibrosis Foundation
Global Healthy Living Foundation
Hemophilia Federation of America
Immune Deficiency Foundation
Leukemia & Lymphoma Society
March of Dimes
National Alliance on Mental Illness
National Coalition for Cancer Survivorship
National Health Council
National Hemophilia Foundation
National Multiple Sclerosis Society
National Organization for Rare Disorders
National Patient Advocate Foundation
National Psoriasis Foundation
Susan G. Komen
WomenHeart: The National Coalition for Women with Heart Disease
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