Golden Leads Renewed Push to Preserve Health Coverage Tax Credit for Maine Retirees
WASHINGTON — Congressman Jared Golden (ME-02) led a bipartisan group of members of Congress today to press the Chairman and Ranking Member of the House Ways and Means Committee to extend the Health Coverage Tax Credit (HCTC) for five years. Dozens of retirees from the Twin Rivers Paper Company in Madawaska have used the tax credit to access affordable health care, and over 200 current workers at Twin Rivers could become eligible when they retire.
In February, Golden advocated successfully to extend the tax credit through 2020, but the provision again expires in December. The tax credit helps retirees who have been affected by harmful trade practices or changes to their pensions afford health insurance costs, covering up to 72.5 percent of premiums in some cases.
“Our districts are home to working people who are facing threats to their families’ financial stability through no fault of their own and who need continued access to affordable health care through this credit…” Golden and his colleagues wrote. “The addition of pandemic-related economic uncertainty, along with continued trade pressures and pension instability, mean that this is no time to let the HCTC lapse.”
Reps. Michael Turner (OH-10), Tim Ryan (OH-13), Veronica Escobar (TX-16), and Brian Fitzpatrick (PA-01) joined Golden to send the letter.
In 2019, Golden was also the lead Democratic cosponsor of the bipartisan Health Coverage Tax Credit Authorization Act, standalone legislation to reauthorize the program for five years.
You can read Golden’s announcement of the February extension here.
You can read the letter to leadership here, or below:
Dear Chairman Neal and Ranking Member Brady:
As the committee considers tax extenders legislation in the final months of 2020, we write to highlight the importance of the Health Coverage Tax Credit (HCTC) (26 USC 35) to our constituents and urge that it be extended for five years as outlined in H.R.1939. Our districts are home to working people who are facing threats to their families’ financial stability through no fault of their own and who need continued access to affordable health care through this credit. The addition of pandemic-related economic uncertainty, along with continued trade pressures and pension instability, mean that this is no time to let the HCTC lapse.
The HCTC is targeted to people who have lost their jobs due to outsourcing and to those whose pensions have been taken over by the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation as a result of their employer’s financial instability. In these cases, our constituents face financial risks that threaten their ability to afford health insurance for themselves and their families. In many cases, people using the HCTC are near the Medicare eligibility age, when health insurance age rating means they face particularly expensive premiums in the years before they qualify for Medicare. This makes the HCTC particularly important for our constituents in these situations to be able to continue to protect their health and that of their families.
For these reasons we urge the Committee to extend the HCTC for at least five additional years. Thank you for your consideration.