Washington, D.C.— The House Energy and Commerce Committee will hold a hearing today—the eleventh anniversary of the signing of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) into law—on several bills aimed at strengthening the ACA. The bills include funding for outreach and enrollment efforts, money for more navigators to help people find and select coverage, limiting access to short-term limited duration health plans, and bills to reduce premiums and encourage Medicaid expansion, among others.
The hearing follows this month’s passage of the American Rescue Plan, which included numerous provisions to improve access and affordability to health coverage during the ongoing pandemic, including increased subsidies to cover the costs of marketplace health plans, financial support to cover all of the premium costs for laid off workers who choose to keep their employer-sponsored health care plans, and additional federal funding for the 12 states which have yet to expand their Medicaid programs to do so and give millions of people access to quality coverage.
A statement on today’s hearing and the ACA anniversary from Lisa Lacasse, president of the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network follows:
“Congressional focus on improving access and affordability of quality health coverage to millions of Americans is critical, particularly for the many who might otherwise be unable to receive timely cancer screenings, adequate treatment and long-term follow-up services without the health care law or the just-passed additional financial assistance.
“The passage of the ACA 11 years ago marked the first time millions of Americans with pre-existing conditions, including cancer, were no longer at risk of being denied or charged more for their health care based on their health history. They were finally able to rely on their insurance to cover essential health benefits like prescription drugs or hospital stays without arbitrary lifetime or annual caps. The law also guaranteed that routine mammograms, colonoscopies and other proven cancer screenings would be covered at no additional costs.
“Yet the onslaught of regulatory changes put forth by the previous administration—including rules that allowed for the proliferation of certain plans that weakened some of the law’s patient protections and brought back egregious insurance practices, like pre-existing condition denials and arbitrary coverage limits—necessitate swift action to reverse and correct course. We’re pleased to see Congress is taking this opportunity to further strengthen the law. We look forward to continuing to work with all lawmakers on numerous ways they can help ensure cancer patients and their families have access to quality affordable health care now and in the years to come.”