Rep. Axne Votes to Lower Health Care Costs, Strengthen Protections for Pre-Existing Condition

June 29, 2020
Press Release
Axne bill to reduce out-of-pocket costs included in measure passed by House

Today, Rep. Cindy Axne (IA-03) voted to pass the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Enhancement Act to make health care more affordable for millions of Americans, crack down on junk insurance plans, and strengthen protections for people with pre-existing conditions within the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

The legislation, which passed in a bipartisan vote today, includes a bill introduced by Rep. Axne earlier this year to reduce out-of-pocket health care costs and reverse a rule that is projected to increase higher insurance premiums for at least 7.3 million Americans.

“Right now, Iowans and other American families are facing two daunting crises – an indiscriminate pandemic and a deepening economic recession. Both threaten the health of our communities in their own ways, and as policymakers we should be doing everything in our power to lower costs and increase access to quality care,” said Rep. Axne. “The provisions in today’s legislation are critical. They reduce out-of-pocket expenses, the cost of prescription drugs, and reinforce protections for people with pre-existing conditions. While the Trump Administration has doubled down on its attempt to eliminate health care coverage for hundreds of thousands of Iowans, I am committed to building on the protections of the Affordable Care Act to ensure our communities aren’t left without coverage as we navigate our nation’s ongoing public health and economic emergencies.”

The legislation passed today significantly increases the ACA’s affordability subsidies to be more generous and cover more middle-class families. For the first time, no person will have to pay more than 8.5 percent of their income for a benchmark silver plan in the ACA marketplaces, and many Americans will see their premiums cut in half or more:

  • A family of four earning $40,000 would save nearly $1,600 in premiums each year.
  • A 64-year-old earning $57,420 would save more than $8,700 in premiums each year.
  • A single adult with income of $31,900 would see premiums cut in half. 
  • An adult earning $19,140 would see premiums cut to zero, saving $800 dollars a year. 

The bill also cracks down on junk plans and strengthens protections for people with pre-existing conditions, reversing the Trump Administration’s expansion of junk health insurance plans that do not provide coverage for essential medical treatments and drugs and that are allowed to discriminate against people with pre-existing medical conditions.

More information on the provisions of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Enhancement Act is available here.

Rep. Axne’s Fair Indexing for Health Care Affordability Act

In April 2019, the Trump Administration implemented a changed to the formula that calculates eligibility for ACA premium tax credits and out-of-pocket cost limits – allowing for up to $400 more per year in out-of-pocket costs and increased premiums for more than 80% of Americans who purchased subsidized coverage on ACA marketplaces.

The Fair Indexing for Health Care Affordability Act, which was included in today’s legislative package, reverses that formula change. It was introduced in February by Rep. Axne, Rep. Doris Matsui (CA-06), and Rep. Steven Horsford (NV-04).

Background:

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.”

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