Moments ago, the bipartisan Strengthening Health Care and Lowering Prescription Drug Costs Act passed the U.S. House of Representatives. The omnibus package of bills brought by Energy and Commerce Chairman Frank Pallone, Jr. (NJ-06) would reinvest in the successes of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) while working to address rising drug prices.
Following the passage of the Strengthening Health Care and Lowering Prescription Drug Costs Act, Erin Hemlin, Health Policy and Advocacy Director for Young Invincibles, issued the following statement:
“Today’s passage of the Strengthening Health Care and Lowering Prescription Drug Costs Act is a huge step towards reversing the damage done by the Trump Administration, reinvesting in programs that help Americans, and restoring public faith that the government will properly implement existing law. We’ve spent the past two years fighting attempts to destroy or undermine the ACA, but policymakers are finally moving forward.
Since the ACA became law, the uninsured rate among young people has been cut in half, but this Administration has repeatedly undermined young people’s access to comprehensive, affordable ACA coverage, causing many to fall through the cracks. This bill invests in supports that will help young people navigate the enrollment process, understand enrollment deadlines, and have their questions answered by a free, unbiased enrollment assister. It also rolls back notoriously misleading short-term junk plans, which get to skirt the ACA’s consumer protections while masquerading as full insurance coverage.
We’re hopeful to put past sabotage attempts behind us and work towards improving our health care system. The Strengthening Health Care and Lowering Prescription Drug Costs Act invests in the programs young people need to access quality coverage and keep themselves healthy.”
To continue to building on the successes of the ACA, the Strengthening Health Care and Lowering Prescription Drug Costs Act would:
- Restore funding for ACA outreach, enrollment, and advertising, which has been slashed by 90 percent over the past two years
- Restore funding and program requirements for the Navigator program, which provides free, in-person help to key populations like young adults, low-income families, immigrants, people of color, and others who have additional barriers to coverage
- Eliminate the Trump Administration’s expansion of short-term plans, which are allowed to deny coverage to people with pre-existing conditions, impose lifetime or annual spending limits on care, and exclude coverage for essential health benefits like prescription drugs — all of which is forbidden under the ACA
- Provide money for states to set up their own state-run health insurance marketplace, insulating the state’s enrollees from the impacts of the Trump Administration’s current and future sabotage attempts
- End prescription drug company practices knowns as “generic parking,” and “pay for delay,” which limit competition and drive up prices for consumers
- Set guidelines that require brand-name drug manufacturers to share information faster and more efficiently with generic manufacturers
The Strengthening Health Care and Lowering Prescription Drug Costs Act now heads to the Senate for a vote.