Title: The “Protecting Pre-Existing Conditions and Making Health Care More Affordable Act of 2019”
The healthcare industry in the United States has become a top concern for Americans, as an increasing number of individuals are unable to afford necessary medical care. The rising costs of healthcare have led to many Americans delaying seeking medical help, resulting in detrimental consequences for their health. In response to these challenges, Representative Frank Pallone Jr., a Democratic Representative from New Jersey, introduced H.R.1884, also known as the “Protecting Pre-Existing Conditions and Making Health Care More Affordable Act of 2019.” This bill aims to reverse the harmful effects of the Trump administration’s attempts to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA) or Obamacare. It strives to enhance the protection for individuals with pre-existing conditions, eliminate discriminatory insurance practices, and extend waivers to individual states. Additionally, the bill seeks to make healthcare more affordable for all Americans by expanding affordability assistance and establishing state-based insurance marketplaces. This paper will analyze the key provisions of the bill and its potential implications for improving healthcare access and affordability in the United States.
Expanding Eligibility for Premium Tax Credits:
One of the major provisions of the “Protecting Pre-Existing Conditions and Making Health Care More Affordable Act of 2019” is the expansion of eligibility for premium tax credits beyond 400 percent of the federal poverty line. Currently, individuals with incomes above 400 percent of the federal poverty line do not qualify for these tax credits, making health insurance premiums unaffordable for many Americans. By expanding eligibility, the bill aims to reduce the financial burden associated with insurance premiums and ensure that more individuals have access to affordable coverage.
Increasing the Size of Tax Credits:
Another significant provision of the bill is the increase in the size of tax credits for all income brackets. This measure seeks to further reduce the cost of insurance premiums and make healthcare more affordable for individuals across different income levels. By providing larger tax credits, the bill aims to alleviate the financial strain on individuals and families, enabling them to secure comprehensive healthcare coverage.
Establishing State-Based Insurance Marketplaces:
In addition to expanding eligibility and increasing the size of tax credits, the “Protecting Pre-Existing Conditions and Making Health Care More Affordable Act of 2019” offers funding opportunities for states to establish their own state-based insurance marketplaces. These marketplaces often offer lower insurance premiums compared to out-of-state options. By allowing states to develop their own marketplaces, the bill aims to enhance competition and provide individuals with more affordable coverage options.
Implementing a National Reinsurance Program:
Furthermore, the bill proposes the development of a national reinsurance program to help cover the costs of high-cost medical conditions. This program would assist in mitigating the financial risks associated with providing coverage for individuals with pre-existing conditions. By pooling resources and distributing the costs, the program aims to lower premiums for all consumers, making healthcare more affordable and accessible.
The Success of State Reinsurance Programs:
Efforts to mitigate the costs of insurance premiums through reinsurance programs have shown promising results in several states. By utilizing federal funding through Section 1332: State Innovations Waivers, states such as Alaska, Maine, Maryland, Minnesota, New Jersey, Oregon, and Wisconsin have successfully implemented reinsurance programs and achieved lower insurance premiums compared to states without these programs. This evidence-based practice highlights the potential effectiveness of state reinsurance programs in improving affordability and accessibility.
The “Protecting Pre-Existing Conditions and Making Health Care More Affordable Act of 2019” introduces various provisions aimed at improving healthcare accessibility and affordability for all Americans. By expanding eligibility for premium tax credits, increasing the size of tax credits, establishing state-based insurance marketplaces, and implementing a national reinsurance program, the bill strives to address the pressing concerns surrounding healthcare in the United States. While the bill reflects a positive step towards healthcare reform, it is imperative for political parties and leaders to work collaboratively to deliver on their promises and ensure that comprehensive healthcare is accessible to all Americans.