news 6 days ago

Cartwright votes to lower health care, drug costs; measure goes to Senate

The Times Leader, Wilkes-Barre, Pa. — Bill O?Boyle The Times Leader, Wilkes-Barre, Pa.

June 30-- Jun. 30--WILKES-BARRE -- U.S. Rep. Matt Cartwright Tuesday said access to affordable health care is essential now more than ever as millions of Americans have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Cartwright issued that statement a day after he voted to pass the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Enhancement Act in the U.S. House, which would strengthen protections for people with pre-existing conditions and reduce out-of-pocket health care costs.

It passed by a vote of 234-179 and now goes to the U.S. Senate for consideration. Cartwright said according to estimates by the Congressional Budget Office, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Enhancement Act would save taxpayers more than $18.2 billion over a 10-year period.

"This bill would lower insurance premiums and drug costs, all while saving taxpayer money," said Cartwright, D-Moosic. "I will continue to fight for quality, affordable health care, especially for seniors and those living with pre-existing conditions."

Cartwright said the passage of this legislation in the House comes just days after the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) and several Republican attorneys general filed briefs in California v. Texas before the Supreme Court, asking that the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) be struck down in its entirety as the U.S. continues to grapple with the coronavirus pandemic.

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Enhancement Act would:

--Significantly increase the ACA's affordability subsidies to be more generous and cover more middle-class families. For the first time, no person would have to pay more than 8.5 percent of their income for a benchmark silver plan in the ACA marketplaces, and many Americans will see their premiums cut in half or more:

--A family of four earning $40,000 would save nearly $1,600 in premiums each year.

--A 64-year-old earning $57,420 would save more than $8,700 in premiums each year.

--A single adult with income of $31,900 would see premiums cut in half.

--An adult earning $19,140 would see premiums cut to zero, saving $800 dollars a year.

--Empower Medicare to negotiate lower drug prices for Medicare beneficiaries and Americans with private insurance.

--Incentivize hold-out states to expand Medicaid.

--Fight the maternal mortality epidemic by requiring states to extend Medicaid or CHIP coverage to new mothers for a full year post-partum.

--Crack down on junk plans and strengthen protections for people with pre-existing conditions.

Reach Bill O'Boyle at 570-991-6118 or on Twitter @TLBillOBoyle.

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