Diverse Health Care Stakeholders Unite Around Wide-Ranging Policies To Extend And Improve Affordable, High-Quality Coverage
Groups are urging Congress to act quickly on commonsense solutions
Washington, D.C. – Today, 18 diverse health care organizations (see below) representing consumers, industry, patients, and experts, released a set of policy proposals that they are urging Congress and the Biden administration to enact. The policies revolve around ways to extend and improve affordable, high-quality health coverage across the full range of health care markets: Medicaid, the Children’s Health Insurance Program, the individual market (including health insurance exchanges), and employer-sponsored insurance.
The groups that united around these proposals include consumer and patient advocates, champions for children and families, employers, unions, physicians, hospitals, health insurance providers, civil rights organizations, researchers, and more. The strategies for expanding and improving coverage include both immediate actions that elected leaders can take in addition to longer-term solutions to address fundamental health needs, many of which have been laid bare by COVID-19.
The recommendations call on Congress to act in four specific areas as part of its next major legislative package:
- Strengthening funding, streamlining enrollment and renewal, and expanding eligibility for Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program
- Improving the affordability of coverage that people buy for themselves in the individual market
- Expanding health care coverage to all lawfully present immigrants, without any waiting periods
- Enrolling people into coverage who qualify for assistance but remain uninsured
“The deadliest pandemic in more than a century and sharpest economic downturn since the Great Depression have made it crystal clear that affordable, high-quality coverage is critical to the entire nation’s well-being, not just individual families,” said Frederick Isasi, executive director of Families USA. “If our elected leaders don’t act, we will have wasted the most devastating lesson of our lifetimes. Passing these commonsense proposals, which enjoy broad support from across the political spectrum, would be a strong statement that America is going to come back stronger than ever. I’m proud to stand with the other leaders backing these proposals, and we stand ready to do whatever is necessary to make them reality.”
“These proposals provide concrete actions lawmakers can take to address long-standing gaps in coverage brought into sharp relief by the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Margaret A. Murray, CEO of the Association for Community Affiliated Plans (ACAP). “ACAP is especially glad to support continuous Medicaid eligibility provisions, which prevent dangerous “churn” that threatens health outcomes and creates burdensome bureaucratic hurdles, as well as higher subsidies to help make Marketplace coverage truly affordable. We urge Congress to act quickly to shore up our health care system for the millions of Americans who need it.”
“Millions of small businesses, especially those in underserved communities, were disproportionately impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and watched helplessly as revenues needed to pay health premiums were wiped out overnight,” said David Chase Small Business Majority Vice President of Outreach. “Congress now has an opportunity and obligation to enact substantive policies that will make high-quality health care coverage affordable for small businesses as they try to rebuild from the devastation of the pandemic. The many and diverse organizations that collaborated on this project is evidence that common-sense solutions can be reached across a broad spectrum of missions. Small Business Majority is honored to be a part of this important effort. We call on lawmakers to review the menu of policy options outlined and consider including some or all in their next legislative package.”
Avideh Moussavian, Director of Federal Advocacy at the National Immigration Law Center, said: “All of us, no matter how much money we have, what we look like or where we were born, should have access to quality and affordable health care. But for too long, health care programs that keep communities healthy have excluded immigrants through eligibility restrictions, outreach failures, and a lack of affordability. NILC is proud to join our partners across diverse sectors in calling on Congress to make urgently needed changes to create a health care system that works better for all of us. Congress must seize this critical moment to drive progress toward a world in which we all have the fundamental human right to health care.”
“We are proud to join such a broad coalition of stakeholders in highlighting the importance of expanding access to health coverage to more people without delay, including our most vulnerable populations,” said Matthew Snider, Senior Analyst for Health Policy at UnidosUS. “The coronavirus pandemic not only impacted communities of color more severely but also exacerbated deep inequities in our health care system. The urgency of the moment demands bold policies and swift action. The recommendations we are unveiling today would help ensure more people can access quality, affordable health coverage and address longstanding health disparities made worse by the health and economic crises.”
“Women, particularly Black, Indigenous, and Latina women suffered disproportionately during this pandemic from the disease itself, and as frontline workers and caregivers,” said Jessi Leigh Swenson, Director, Congressional Relations, Health Justice for the National Partnership for Women & Families. “That is why we support these commonsense policy proposals, including concrete actions to address the maternal health crisis by expanding postpartum Medicaid coverage to 12 months and coverage for community-based models of maternal care such as doula birth support. We are proud to join this diverse group of stakeholders who have united to make common cause, knowing that we are stronger together.”
“Affordable, accessible, and equitable health insurance is essential for the 160 million Americans living with chronic diseases and disabilities and their family caregivers,” said Randall Rutta, Chief Executive Officer of the National Health Council. “As a partner in this diverse group of stakeholders, we call on Congress and the Administration to act and increase insurance coverage for all Americans. This united coalition demonstrates that there is widespread support for action on this crucial issue.”
The full list of organizations backing these policies are: America’s Health Insurance Plans, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American College of Physicians, the Association for Community Affiliated Plans, Blue Cross Blue Shield Association, Catholic Health Association of the United States, Families USA, Federation of American Hospitals, NAACP, National Birth Equity Collaborative, National Council of Urban Indian Health, National Health Council, National Immigration Law Center, National Partnership for Women & Families, Small Business Majority, Third Way, UnidosUS and Young Invincibles.