Improving the Affordable Care Act
Senate Republicans failed to pass any of their healthcare repeal bills before leaving for recess.
Despite their relentless campaign to strip working families of their healthcare, Senate Republicans failed to pass any of their healthcare repeal bills before leaving for recess. This was a victory brought on by the everyday Americans who fought to protect their care. Now, we have the opportunity to write the next chapter on healthcare in this country: one characterized by bipartisan cooperation and reforms that make coverage more affordable for people.
We know that the Republican proposals to repeal and replace the ACA would have been a disaster. It would unravel protections for patients with preexisting conditions. It would eliminate coverage for essential health benefits, such as prescription drug coverage, hospitalization, and pregnancy, maternity coverage. It would make healthcare unaffordable by raising premiums and deductibles.
Instead of pursuing a repeal, we ought to work together to reform the current system and fix the problems that exist. But we cannot leave the American people behind in the process. We need to stabilize the marketplaces and ensure there are affordable, high-quality coverage options for every American.
We need to bring down the cost of premiums and deductibles. To do that, we need to reduce the uncertainty and un- predictability in the insurance marketplaces by preserving the Cost-Sharing Reduction payments and creating a new reinsurance program. And we need to bring down the price of prescription drugs, which are driving up insurance rates.
I am deeply disturbed by the Trump Administration’s attempts to sabotage the Affordable Care Act. The non-partisan Kaiser Family Foundation found that the mixed signals being sent by the Trump Administration has created uncertainty “far outside the norm” which will lead to double-digit premium increases. President Trump has also repeatedly threatened to undermine the ACA marketplaces—including cutting off the cost sharing reduction payments. These payments were created to reduce out of pocket expenses for those with moderate incomes.
If these subsides were taken away, many families would no longer be able to afford their premiums, deductibles, and copayments. Some insurers would withdraw from the market, forcing premiums to skyrocket. Congress must act to make sure these payments are made to ensure that families can afford their care.
To lower premiums and deductibles, we should create robust reinsurance programs in order to help insurers manage the risk of insuring enrollees with high medical expenses. The Affordable Care Act created a temporary reinsurance program when the bill was passed. Since that program expired, premiums have increased, making it clear that we need a permanent reinsurance program, similar to what congress created for Medicare Part D.
Today, prescription drug prices are exorbitantly high, driving up insurance rates. Congress needs to act to lower excessive drug prices so that people can afford the treatments they need. I have introduced legislation to create a drug price review board. Enacting this legislation would be an effective first step in reining in excessive costs.
We cannot put more American families in jeopardy by raising the cost of healthcare. We need a country and a healthcare system that works for the middle class and the vulnerable, not just the wealthy and those with the most lobbyists. We can and should find common ground on healthcare — but we need to put the American people first in this process.
U.S. Rep. Rosa DeLauro, D-3, at the Cornell Scott Hill Health Center in New Haven speaking with Demetrio Delaholz and his wife, Lola, of West Haven as they signed up for health care.