Underwood Leads Congressional Effort Urging House and Senate Leadership to Make Health Care Affordability Provisions in the American Rescue Plan Permanent

April 8, 2021
Press Release
“We have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to make high-quality care affordable and accessible for every American”

WASHINGTON—Yesterday, Congresswoman Lauren Underwood (IL-14) led 35 members of the House of Representatives in urging House and Senate leadership to make the health care affordability provisions included in the American Rescue Plan permanent. In the letter to House Speaker Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Schumer, the Members highlighted the health care savings that Americans are already seeing from the inclusion of expanded premium tax credits in the American Rescue Plan, and emphasized the need to permanently extend these provisions, which are set to expire in 2023. The Members are advocating for the passage of policies such as Underwood’s bill, the Health Care Affordability Act, in the next legislative package to ensure every American has access to high-quality, low-cost care.    

“The American people are counting on us to ensure quality, affordable coverage remains accessible not only during the immediate aftermath of this pandemic, but indefinitely. Permanently reducing and capping out-of-pocket premium costs by including provisions like the Health Care Affordability Act (H.R. 369) would achieve this goal and ensure Americans do not face steep premium increases when section 9661 of the American Rescue Plan expires in 2023. With new leadership in the Senate and White House, we have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to make high-quality care affordable and accessible for every American. We cannot let this moment pass: we urge you to make the health care affordability provisions of the American Rescue Plan permanent in the next legislative package that is negotiated in Congress,” the Members wrote.  

A copy of the letter can be found here and below.  

April 7, 2021

 

The Honorable Nancy Pelosi                                                       The Honorable Charles E. Schumer  

Speaker                                                                                           Majority Leader  

United States House of Representatives                                    United States Senate  

Washington, DC 20515                                                                Washington, DC 20510 

Thank you for your leadership on the passage of the American Rescue Plan, a momentous law that is saving lives and livelihoods. Our communities are already seeing the benefits of this legislation: there is more money in pockets, vaccines in arms, kids are getting back to school safely, and – especially critical in the midst of a once-in-a-century health crisis – more Americans now have access to quality, affordable health care.  

Thanks to provisions in the American Rescue Plan that expand advance premium tax credits (APTCs), individuals and families across the country are seeing their health care costs decrease substantially. Monthly premiums for Marketplace plans will decrease by $50 per person on average, allowing four out of five enrollees to find a health insurance plan for $10 or less per month. And an average of three out of five uninsured eligible adults may be able to enroll in a zero-premium plan. 

For some households, the savings will be even more significant: a family of four making $90,000 will see their premiums decrease by $200 per month, while an uninsured couple earning more than $70,000 could save more than $1,000 per month. Americans with lower incomes will be able to find coverage without paying any monthly premium at all. In fact, 1.8 million uninsured people are estimated to be eligible for a plan with no premium costs and 3.6 million uninsured Americans will become newly eligible for premium tax credits.  These savings are immediate and provide financial relief at a time when hard-working families need it the most.  

As you know, this historic progress was hard fought. Republicans spent a decade sabotaging and trying to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA), and the American people made their support for the law known when they elected a new Democratic House majority dedicated to protecting the ACA in 2018. In the 116th Congress, under the leadership of Speaker Pelosi and House Committee Chairs, the House passed the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Enhancement Act (H.R. 1425), sweeping health care legislation designed to dramatically lower health coverage costs for millions of Americans and dramatically lower prescription drug prices. Although the legislation passed the House with bipartisan support, it did not advance in the Republican-controlled Senate.  

We write to urge you to make these historic health care improvements permanent at your first legislative opportunity, including in a forthcoming infrastructure package. The American people are counting on us to ensure quality, affordable coverage remains accessible not only during the immediate aftermath of this pandemic, but indefinitely. Permanently reducing and capping out-of-pocket premium costs by including provisions like the Health Care Affordability Act (H.R. 369) would achieve this goal and ensure Americans do not face steep premium increases when section 9661 of the American Rescue Plan expires in 2023.  

With new leadership in the Senate and White House, we have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to make high-quality care affordable and accessible for every American. We cannot let this moment pass: we urge you to make the health care affordability provisions of the American Rescue Plan permanent in the next legislative package that is negotiated in Congress.  

Thank you for your continued commitment to protecting health care and lowering health care costs For the People. On behalf of the people we represent, we look forward to continuing to build on the historic progress we have made to ensure every American has high-quality, affordable health care.  

Sincerely, 

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