Underwood’s Health Care Affordability Act, Included in President Biden’s American Rescue Plan, Advances Out of Ways and Means Committee
WASHINGTON— This week, Congresswoman Lauren Underwood’s (IL-14) legislation to lower health care costs for American families passed out of the Ways and Means Committee. The Health Care Affordability Act has been adopted as a part of President Biden’s American Rescue Plan and would deliver urgently-needed relief to Americans impacted by the coronavirus pandemic. Underwood’s proposal would make health premiums more affordable and lower out-of-pocket costs by making tax credits for Health Insurance Marketplace plans more generous and available to more Americans.
“Too many American families can’t afford health coverage because of exorbitant out-of-pocket costs, and those fortunate enough to have coverage are being crushed by expensive premiums. It has long been unacceptable, and during this devastating pandemic, it’s downright repugnant,” said Rep. Underwood. “The Health Care Affordability Act, as included in the American Rescue Plan, would get more people covered and deliver real savings to Americans, which is especially critical in this economic time of need. I thank my colleagues and the President for prioritizing this legislation to increase care and put money in the pockets of American families. ”
Underwood’s Health Care Affordability Act would reduce health care premiums for more than ten million people and bring affordable coverage within reach of millions of uninsured Americans. The Health Care Affordability Act of 2021 would expand eligibility for premium tax credits beyond 400 percent of the federal poverty line (FPL) and increase the size of the tax credit for all income brackets. The legislation that advanced out of the Ways and Means Committee would expand eligibility for premium tax credits to people with incomes above 400 percent of the FPL for 2021 and 2022, and it would expand the size of the tax credits during those years for households with income below 400 percent of the FPL. For households with incomes up to 150 percent of the FPL, Marketplace premiums would be eliminated.
In addition to Underwood’s provision, the legislative package includes provisions to:
- Give working families an additional direct payment of $1,400 per person—bringing their total relief to $2,000 per person.
- Extend temporary federal unemployment and benefits through August 29, 2021; increases the weekly benefit from $300 to $400.
- Expand tax credits targeted at workers and families.
- Protect the elderly and crushes the virus in nursing homes.