Golden Votes to Lower Health Care Costs for Mainers
Congressman Jared Golden (ME-02) voted yesterday to pass the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Enhancement Act through the House. The bill, which comes amid renewed efforts by the White House to dismantle the Affordable Care Act (ACA) in the Supreme Court, would strengthen the ACA, lower costs for many families who receive insurance through ACA marketplaces, and help reduce the prices of prescription drugs for all Americans.
“I’m focused on lowering health care costs and protecting Mainers with pre-existing conditions,” said Golden. “While the Affordable Care Act isn’t perfect, we should fix the program and strengthen it, not take coverage away from almost 100,000 Mainers by eliminating it. Congress can make the ACA work better for Americans — right now — by passing this bill to reduce marketplace insurance costs, reverse a rule from the administration that allowed insurers to discriminate against some patients with pre-existing conditions, and finally give the federal government the ability to negotiate lower drug prices for all Americans. If this bill becomes law, it will help working families save thousands of dollars in health care costs every year.”
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Enhancement Act included legislation co-led by Congressman Golden to ensure vulnerable Mainers on Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) are not saddled with unexpected, unaffordable payments to the IRS after buying health insurance on ACA exchanges. The Fairness in Social Security Act would exclude retroactive lump-sum SSDI payments from the calculation of eligibility for tax credits to purchase healthcare through the exchanges.
Among other provisions, the bill:
- Expands tax credits to lower ACA marketplace health insurance premiums and allow more Americans to qualify for subsidies. Under the bill, no person will pay more than 8.5 percent of their income on a silver plan in the Marketplace.
- Establishes a Fair Price Negotiation Program and provides the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) with the authority, mandate, and tools to reduce prescription drug prices through negotiation.
- Funds critical federal and state efforts to increase health coverage enrollment, educate consumers of their health care rights, and help individuals navigate the health insurance system.
- Halts the administration’s expansion of junk health insurance plans that do not provide coverage for essential medical treatments and drugs, and that are allowed to discriminate against people with pre-existing medical conditions.
- Limits the administration’s efforts to give states waivers to undermine protections for people with pre-existing conditions and weaken standards for essential health benefits.
- Assists states like Maine with funding reinsurance programs to lower premiums and state-based health exchanges to reach their citizens more effectively.