Axne Leads Legislation to Lower Out-Of-Pocket Health Care Costs for Iowans

February 12, 2020
Press Release
Bill reverses a rule that is projected to increase premiums for 7.3 million Americans

Today, Rep. Cindy Axne (IA-03) introduced legislation to reduce out-of-pocket health care costs by reversing an administration rule that makes fewer Americans eligible for health care premium tax credits. The rule, which was finalized in April 2019, will cost impacted families up to $400 more per year in out-of-pocket costs, and is projected to result in higher premiums for at least 7.3 million Americans.

The administration changed the formula that calculates eligibility for Affordable Care Act (ACA) premium tax credits and out-of-pocket cost limits. For 2020, this rule change has increased the maximum limit by 2.5 percent, resulting in an annual increase of $200 for individuals and $400 for families.

Rep. Axne’s Fair Indexing for Health Care Affordability Act would reverse the administration’s change to how out-of-pocket limits and tax credit indexing are calculated, and stabilize ACA marketplaces by protecting at least 7.3 million Americans from paying higher premiums.

“There is no reason to raise premiums and out-of-pocket costs, and this legislation would stop Iowans from having to pay even more for their care,” said Rep. Axne. “This legislation will protect our insurance marketplaces, restore tax credits to families, and provide more certainty to Iowans budgeting for their health care.”

The legislation was introduced by Rep. Axne, Rep. Doris Matsui (CA-06), and Rep. Steven Horsford (NV-04).

“American families continue to take the brunt of the Trump Administration’s assault on the Affordable Care Act. The Administration’s change to the eligibility for vital ACA premium tax credits is yet another sabotage effort that reduces access to affordable care,” said Rep. Matsui. “The Fair Indexing for Health Care Affordability Act would invalidate this harmful regulation, reducing out-of-pockets costs and putting health care back within reach for our working-class Americans. I will continue to work towards solutions that make health care more accessible for everyone and stem the rising tide of health care costs to protect our families.”

“While the Democratic majority continues to fight to lower health care costs for Americans across the country, we are simultaneously tasked with protecting American families from harmful policies put in place by the current administration. In this case, we are fighting against a biased policy that hurts families accessing their health care through the Affordable Care Act,” said Congressman Horsford. “The Fair Indexing for Health Care Act would save families in my district, and across the country, from unjust out-of-pocket charges on their health care purchased under the Affordable Care Act. No parent or individual should bear the burden of unfair tax policies or increased out-of-pocket limits on their care and I am proud to sponsor legislation that protects access to affordable health care.”

As a member of the Affordable and Accessible Health Care Task Force, Rep. Axne has fought to pass solutions that lower health care costs for Iowa families.

In December, President Trump signed a permanent repeal of a mandated health insurance tax (HIT), ‘Cadillac’ tax, and medical device tax. Prior to their repeal, Rep. Axne had continually pushed Congressional leadership to repeal these taxes to protect middle class Iowans from higher costs and uncertainty in the health care markets.  

Rep. Axne also supported comprehensive legislation that passed the House in December to lower prescription drug prices and improve the quality of health care for Iowa seniors and families. The final version of H.R. 3 also included an amendment by Rep. Axne to lower health administration costs and get Iowans more time with their doctor.

Last year, Rep. Axne voted to prevent insurance companies from skirting ACA protections for pre-existing conditions by preventing states from promoting the sale of “junk health care plans.”