Today, the United States House of Representatives passed the “Patient Protection and Affordable Care Enhancement Act,” which for the first time since the Affordable Care Act’s enactment, would drastically improve access and affordability for millions of Americans.
In response to today’s vote, Erin Hemlin, Health Policy and Advocacy Director of Young Invincibles, issued the following statement:
“The ACA has done so much for young adults – more than eight million young Americans have gained health coverage, and the uninsured rate has been cut in half, from 30 percent in 2010 to 15 percent in 2018.
But more needs to be done. Today’s passage of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Enhancement Act in the House is an important step for improving on the success of the Affordable Care Act.
This desperately needed legislation passes the House at a time when the Trump Administration and state Attorneys General continue to push to strike down the Affordable Care Act in its entirety. Despite that, if they are successful, 23 million Americans would lose their health coverage and 130 million Americans would lose protections against pre-existing condition discrimination.
One of the main reasons the uninsured rate among young people is still high is the lack of Medicaid expansion in 14 states, leaving hundreds of thousands of low-income young people in the coverage gap. By incentivizing Medicaid expansion, providing young mothers with Medicaid coverage for 12 months postpartum, and permanently reauthorizing CHIP, this bill would significantly increase coverage for young adults.
And young people know coverage alone is not enough – that coverage must be comprehensive and affordable. By restricting junk plans that are aggressively marketed to young people but provide shoddy coverage, young people won’t be duped into coverage that won’t actually be there for them when they need it. And by enhancing premium assistance, fixing the family glitch, and taking on the rising costs of prescription drugs, this bill will ensure that good, comprehensive coverage is actually affordable to young adults and young families.
We are fighting a public health crisis that has already taken more than 120,000 American lives. It has never been clearer that we need a system in which every single American has health coverage and isn’t afraid to seek out the care they need. We commend House leadership for passing this bill, and urge the Senate to put aside petty politics, and do what is right for the health and the lives of the American people.”