Wagner Introduces Bipartisan Alternative to Help Americans Keep Health Insurance
Washington, D.C. - This week, Rep. Ann Wagner (R-MO) introduced the Health Care Protection Act along with Reps. Rodney Davis (R-Ill), Kurt Schrader (D-Ore.), Kendra Horn (D-Okla.), Anthony Gonzalez (R-Ohio), and Xochitl Torres Small (D-N.M.). The bill provides six months of premium assistance so workers who have been laid off are not forced to lose or pay more for their health insurance. Additionally, the bill creates a 30-day special enrollment period on the ACA exchanges for individuals who are eligible for coverage but are not enrolled.
“As we come together to fight the coronavirus that has affected our lives in unprecedented ways, no one should lose their employer-sponsored health insurance through no fault of their own, especially during a pandemic," Wagner said. "This virus has taken health insurance away from many Americans, which is why I have worked with my colleagues to introduce bipartisan legislation to help cover premiums so people will not lose their coverage. We are committed to reducing the impact of COVID-19 on the workforce and helping Missourians rebound. This bill will help individuals who are enrolled in COBRA or otherwise do not have coverage.”
"In less than two months, we've gone from one of the greatest economies I've seen in my lifetime to the highest jobless rates since the Great Depression. We have to help people keep their health insurance," said Davis. "Nearly 20 years ago, my wife was in the fight of her life battling colon cancer and I would never want someone going through something like that in fear of losing their doctors or their provider because they've lost their job due to a pandemic without an option of getting another one. Our bill is a reasonable, bipartisan approach to helping people afford health care during this crisis and it's frankly something Congress could use a little bit more of right now."
“In these partisan times, I am proud to find a realistic bipartisan solution to help folks retain access to their health care with their previous employer,” said Schrader. By working together we can make sure hard working families are not left behind. This bill will help hardworking Americans families maintain access to affordable health insurance no matter what happens to their jobs.”
“We must decrease the cost of COBRA to help workers and families who have lost their jobs retain their health insurance during this pandemic,” said Horn. “As we face the combined threats of a health emergency and an economic crisis, it is critical that we allow Americans who’ve been laid off or furloughed to keep their insurance. No matter who you are, access to health care is vital, especially when families are struggling to make ends meet.”
“It is critical that Northeast Ohioans and Americans across our country who have lost their jobs by no fault of their own are able to maintain and afford their health insurance. I am proud to support this important piece of legislation, and look forward to working with my colleagues to see it signed into law,” said Gonzalez.
The Health Care Protection Act is supported by patient advocacy groups, insurance providers, and others.
“America’s working families and individuals are facing extraordinary challenges brought on by the coronavirus, one of the most perilous being the loss of health insurance when furloughs and layoffs occur,” said Mary R. Grealy, president of the Healthcare Leadership Council. “We support the legislation introduced by Congressman Davis and his bipartisan cosponsors to utilize COBRA subsidies so that millions of our fellow citizens don’t lose their coverage at a time when access to quality healthcare is more important than ever.”
“Ensuring that Americans maintain access to affordable health insurance and the security it provides is critical to meet the twin challenges of the pandemic and the extraordinary economic distress that’s resulted from it. We are very encouraged that Representatives Davis and Schrader have put together legislation, with bipartisan support, that will bolster the coverage safety net by providing subsidies for people to keep their employer-based insurance after layoffs or furloughs, and allow for a special enrollment period in the individual marketplace so those who need new coverage have access to comprehensive, affordable benefits and can access the care they need,” said Scott P. Serota, President and CEO, Blue Cross Blue Shield Association.
"The Alliance to Fight for Health Care commends Representatives Davis, Horn, Torres-Small, Wagner, Schrader and Gonzales for their efforts to come together on a bipartisan basis to support those who are struggling to pay for health coverage during this crisis. Working together, on a bipartisan basis, is critically important to ensure Congress can quickly support the health care needs of Americans who have lost their job—or been furloughed—due to COVID-19. Providing robust COBRA funding, through the length of the crisis, immediately helps Americans maintain their coverage and makes it easy for them to transition back to work as the economy opens up. We applaud the effort of members seeking to help Americans keep their health insurance, and the peace of mind that comes with it, in this time of crisis."
CLICK HERE for bill text.
CLICK HERE for a section-by-section of the bill.