Engel Cosponsors Bill to Increase Affordability & Undo the Administration's Sabotage of the ACA

Engel Cosponsors Bill to Increase Affordability & Undo the Administration’s Sabotage of the ACA

Washington, D.C. – Congressman Eliot Engel, a top member on the House Energy and Commerce Committee that oversees health policy, has cosponsored a comprehensive bill that would improve the Affordable Care Act (ACA) marketplaces by making health care more affordable and reversing the harmful Trump Administration actions that have sabotaged the ACA. 

The legislation would lower health care premiums for consumers by eliminating the cap on eligibility for premium tax credits, and would increase the size of the tax credit for all income brackets. The bill would also provide additional support for out-of-pocket costs, and would make cost-sharing subsidies more generous for those below 250 percent of the Federal Poverty Line.  In October, President Trump decided to default on cost-sharing subsidies that help more than seven million hardworking Americans afford their out-of-pocket health care costs.

“For the last year, Republicans have worked incessantly to destroy or, at the very least, undermine the Affordable Care Act,” Engel said. “I’m proud to support comprehensive legislation that strengthens our nation's health care system by reducing costs, improving access to care and undoing some of the most harmful Trump Administration policies that sabotage the ACA.”

The legislation, entitled the Undo Sabotage and Expand Affordability of Health Insurance Act of 2018, also reverses harmful actions by the Trump Administration that undermine consumer protections in the health care system.  Specifically, the bill would:

  • Prevent the expansion of Association Health Plans from going into effect. These bare-bones plans are not required to include protections for people with pre-existing conditions or the Essential Health Benefits (EHBs) package.
  • Prevent the Trump Administration from moving forward on a proposed rule that would allow insurance companies to discriminate against people with pre-existing conditions by offering junk plans that provide limited benefits and little financial protection from health care costs.  The legislation would require these short-term limited duration health plans to play by the same rules as ACA-compliant plans.
  • Prevent the Trump Administration from weakening protections for EHBs, which would leave consumers with less comprehensive plans that may not cover needed services, such as prescription drugs, maternity care, and substance use disorder treatment.

The legislation would also restore marketing and outreach funds that were cut by 90 percent during the 2018 ACA open enrollment period.  Specifically, the bill requires the Department of Health and Human Services to conduct marketing and outreach, and provides $100 million per year from 2019 through 2021.  It also provides $100 million in Consumer Assistance Program grants for states, which delivers funding for states to conduct educational activities regarding health insurance, and creates a state innovation fund to empower states to implement new approaches to increasing enrollment.  Lastly, this legislation creates a national reinsurance program to help stabilize the market and alleviate potential premium increases resulting from sabotage of the ACA.