In response to the formal introduction this morning of H.R. 1425, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Enhancement Act, Dr. Jamila Taylor, Director of Health Care Reform and Senior Fellow at The Century Foundation, released the following statement:

“The Affordable Care Act (ACA) has been one of the most important pieces of legislation enacted in recent decades, and the introduction of H.R. 1425 is a critical, much-needed step to continue that progress and further advance health equity. Amid the health crisis wrought by COVID-19 and the economic devastation brought by the current recession, never has there been a moment when access to quality, affordable health care has been more important.

“This bill, essentially an ACA 2.0, builds on several key provisions in the ACA to move the country toward universal health care coverage, with an eye toward our most vulnerable communities. In particular, the bill would lower health care costs through expanding tax credits to low-income and middle-class individuals; reducing out-of-pocket, premium, and deductible costs for consumers; fixing the family glitch; and lowering prescription drug prices. Critically, the legislation also incentivizes hold-out states to expand Medicaid coverage, through a carrot-and-stick approach, and strengthens protections for people with pre-existing conditions. Lastly, the package tackles inequality in health coverage for communities of color, and Black mothers in particular, by requiring 12-month postpartum Medicaid coverage in every state—a policy long championed and sought by leaders in the Black Maternal Health Caucus.

“It’s no coincidence that this bill comes the same week as the Trump administration and its conservative allies in the states continue their assault on Americans’ health care by filing new briefs to the Supreme Court that would strike down the ACA in its entirety—a move that would cut taxes for the wealthy and strip coverage from some 23 million Americans. The radical lawsuit is yet another sign of President Trump’s disdain for helping Americans access affordable, quality health care in a time of immense need for our country.

“Millions of Americans are struggling during this pandemic. Unemployment is at an all-time high. Families are trying to simply stay in their homes and keep food on the table. Frontline health care workers are putting their lives on the line. And, on top of all those challenges, tens of millions of Americans—and low-income and communities of color, in particular—lack access to basic health care. If there was ever a time in our history to put politics aside, it is now. The Affordable Care Enhancement Act helps do just that, and Congress should pass it.”

Taylor leads TCF’s work to build on the ACA and develop the next generation of health reform, including public plan proposals in the lead up to the 2020 presidential election. To speak with her about the significance of the Affordable Care Enhancement Act, or Trump administration efforts to repeal the ACA, contact: [email protected].

header image: U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and House Democrats discuss proposed legislation that aims to lower health care costs. source: Tasos Katopodis/Getty Image