This week, Protect Our Care unveiled their health care agenda for the new Congress. The agenda is detailed in a new report, which calls for bold Congressional action to defend the Affordable Care Act against Republican attacks, strengthen Medicaid and Medicare, lower costs, and enact further protections for individuals with pre-existing conditions.
Congressman David Price and State Sen. Jay Chaudhuri joined Protect Our Care North Carolina on a press call yesterday discussing the report – The Health Care Congress: Cost, Coverage, Consumer Protections – and what it means for North Carolina.
“The voters want us to protect their health care,” Representative David Price said. “They want us to protect the Affordable Care Act...and they want us to do whatever it takes to bring affordable, good health care to all of our people.”
“In November...affordable health care was the top issue for North Carolinians,” State Sen. Jay Chaudhuri said. “Republicans...have two options for how they will govern – they can work with Democrats to find common ground, or they can continue to carry out a highly partisan agenda.”
All signs indicate that Republicans will continue to carry out their partisan, anti-health care agenda. The Trump-administration backed lawsuit that recently won in court, Texas, et. al. vs. United States, et. al., would strike down the Affordable Care Act in its entirety, putting millions of North Carolinians’ health care in jeopardy.
Read the full report here. A summary of the report’s agenda can be found below.
Do Everything Possible to Overturn the Federal Court Decision that Struck Down the Affordable Care Act
Oppose the Texas ruling by a conservative federal judge in the Northern District of Texas that overturned the entire Affordable Care Act by passing a Senate Resolution to similar to the House measure that authorizes the House legal counsel to intervene in the lawsuit and oppose the Republican attorneys general, governors, and Trump Administration who are continuing the war on health care through the courts.
End the War on People with Pre-Existing Conditions
Stop insurance companies from selling junk health insurance that allows them to deny quality, affordable coverage to people with pre-existing conditions. These kinds of short term plans should be limited to three-months with no option for renewal.
Guarantee protections for pre-existing conditions and essential health benefits. Require all health plans to cover the “essential health benefits” included in the law, ensure guaranteed issue and community rating, and prohibit insurance companies from imposing lifetime and annual limits on the amount of care a patient can receive.
Lower the costs of prescription drugs. Pass legislation to allow Medicare to negotiate drug prices for all beneficiaries; end price gouging by requiring drug manufacturers to give notice and justify significant price increases; and require transparency of rebate amounts.
End surprise medical bills. 57 percent of Americans have received a surprise bill. Too many people go to a hospital or Emergency Room that is in their network, but get billed for services provided out-of-network, subjecting them to huge bills, as much as six figures. Congress should pass legislation to end surprise medical bills and limit the amount a provider can charge to a negotiated rate.
Expand financial assistance by expanding the eligibility for premium tax credits above 400 percent of the federal poverty limit and increase the size of the tax credit for all income brackets.
Expand services before deductibles, examples would include three primary care visits and one specialist visit that are not subject to a plan’s deductible.
End Republican Sabotage
Fully support Open Enrollment by restoring funding to the pre-Trump levels and making all information about ways to sign up for coverage easily accessible for everyone.
Oppose waivers that undermine the ACA and allow states to skirt key provisions of the law.
Strengthen Medicaid and Medicare
Improve Medicare’s affordability by adding an out-of-pocket maximum after which beneficiaries would be protected from additional costs; including prescription drugs in the limit on out-of-pocket spending; adding coverage for vision, hearing, and dental; and making cost-sharing more affordable.
Extend and increase federal funding for Medicaid expansion.
Conduct Oversight on Trump Administration Actions that Undermine The Affordable Care Act
Topics to conduct oversight on include the Trump Justice Department’s decision not to defend all of the Affordable Care Act in federal court, cuts to outreach and navigator funding, rules opening the door to junk insurance, 1332 guidance that allows federal funds to be used to purchase skimpy health plans, relationships between Administration political appointees and regulated industries, the administration’s push to encourage states to impose work requirements on Medicaid coverage, drug prices and pharmaceutical profits.