Underwood’s Legislation to Lower Health Care Costs for American Families Passes House of Representatives, Expected to Pass Senate and Become Law

February 27, 2021
Press Release
Underwood’s Health Care Affordability Act, as included in the American Rescue Plan, would lower out-of-pocket health care costs for American families

WASHINGTON— Representative Lauren Underwood’s (IL-14) legislation that would lower health care costs for American families passed the U.S. House of Representatives today. The Health Care Affordability Act would lower out-of-pocket health care premium costs by making premium tax credits for Health Insurance Marketplace plans more generous and available to more Americans. The legislation passed as part of the American Rescue Plan, which will deliver urgently needed resources to crush the coronavirus, help American families, and rebuild our economy. It is expected to be passed by the Senate and signed into law.

“Too many Americans can’t afford health coverage, and too many people who have coverage are being crushed by expensive premiums. It has long been unacceptable, but during a devastating pandemic, it’s even more catastrophic for families,” 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 as we crush the virus and rebuild our economy. I thank my colleagues and the President for prioritizing this legislation to expand access to care and put money in the pockets of American families, and I urge the Senate to act immediately to deliver this desperately needed relief.”

The Health Care Affordability Act would lower costs and expand coverage to ensure individuals and families have access to affordable care during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond. The bill 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, eliminating premiums for people at the lowest income levels and reducing e premiums 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.

In addition to Underwood’s bills, the American Rescue Plan includes key provisions to:

  • Increase the direct payments to working families, bringing total relief payment to $2,000 per person.
  • Speed up vaccinations, contain the virus, and provide funding for schools to reopen safely.
  • Extend and expand unemployment benefits.
  • Provide funding for child care.
  • Provide crucial resources to save the jobs of first responders, frontline public health workers, teachers, transit workers, and other essential workers that all Americans depend on.
  • Provide additional assistance to small businesses to help stores on Main Streets around the country to stay open, keep their employees on payroll, and continue serving a vital role in their communities.