The American Families Plan

04/28/2021

The following is a statement by Randall Rutta, Chief Executive Officer, National Health Council:

Access to affordable, sustainable, equitable health care is the essential lifeline for people with chronic diseases and disabilities and their family caregivers. In his American Families Plan, President Biden would make permanent the American Rescue Plan’s Affordable Care Act (ACA) subsidies to help people afford insurance coverage. This will go a long way toward helping those most in need access affordable care. During the pandemic, nearly 15 million Americans lost their employer-based health insurance. With so many still out of work and unable to afford costly premiums on their own, the subsidies offered through the ACA marketplace will go a long way to sustaining the marketplace and ultimately ensuring more people can stay healthy. 

In addition, the American Families Plan will provide the 160 million Americans with chronic conditions and their family caregivers the support they need in the form of paid leave and child care subsidies will also help improve the overall health of our nation. 

As illustrated during the pandemic, affording employees the opportunity to take leave to care for themselves and their loved ones is paramount to ensuring people can manage their health and remain a productive employee. According to the CDC, absenteeism costs ranged from $16 to $81 per year for a small employer and $17 to $286 per year for a large employer per employee for those with a chronic condition. That is why the paid leave proposals in the American Families Plan will help not only the health and wellbeing of those with chronic conditions, but will also advance the economic health of the country. 

Also, by providing additional funding for child care, people managing chronic conditions and their family caregivers will be able to keep health appointments, run critical errands, and participate in clinical trials, without the worry of being able to afford child care. This is especially important for those in marginalized communities. According to a study by the Center for American Progress, Black and multiracial families are more likely than white families to experience job disruptions such as quitting a job, not taking a job, or other major job changes, due to problems with child care. The child care credits in the American Jobs Plan will help bring equity to the job market and enable those with job-based insurance to remain employed and insured. 

But more work needs to be done to increase patient access to and the affordability of care in this country. We look forward to working with the Administration and Congress on this and future health care legislation that puts patients first. 

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Created by and for patient organizations 100 years ago, the National Health Council (NHC) brings diverse organizations together to forge consensus and drive patient-centered health policy. We promote increased access to affordable, high-value, sustainable health care. Made up of more than 140 national health- related organizations and businesses, the NHC’s core membership includes the nation’s leading patient organizations. Other members include health-related associations and nonprofit organizations including the provider, research, and family caregiver communities; and businesses representing biopharmaceutical, device, diagnostic, generic drug, and payer organizations. Learn more at: https://www.nationalhealthcouncil.org. 

Contact: Jennifer Schleman, [email protected]cil.org 

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