WASHINGTON — Today, a broad coalition of health care and employer groups called for achieving universal health coverage by expanding financial assistance to consumers, bolstering enrollment and outreach efforts, and taking additional steps to protect those who have lost or are at risk of losing employer-based coverage because of the economic downturn caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Affordable Coverage Coalition encompasses groups representing the nation’s doctors, hospitals, employers and health insurance providers that collectively serve hundreds of millions of American patients, consumers and employers. The joint commitment by such a broad array of interests is a significant milestone on the path toward universal coverage, which has remained an elusive goal within the U.S. healthcare system.
“While we sometimes disagree on important issues in health care, we are in total agreement that Americans deserve a stable health care market that provides access to high-quality care and affordable coverage for all,” the organizations said in a joint statement of principles. “Achieving universal coverage is particularly critical as we strive to contain the COVID-19 pandemic and work to address long-standing inequities in health care access and outcomes.”
Kim Keck, president and CEO of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association said, “While the country has made enormous strides in expanding coverage over the past decade, we must close the remaining gaps. Having health coverage means people can get the care they need, when they need it, so they can live healthier, more secure lives.”
The groups included in the coalition are: America’s Health Insurance Plans, American Academy of Family Physicians, American Benefits Council, American Hospital Association, American Medical Association, Blue Cross Blue Shield Association, Federation of American Hospitals, and U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
The organizations support the following steps to make health coverage more accessible and affordable:
- Protect Americans who have lost or are at risk of losing employer-provided health coverage from becoming uninsured.
- Make Affordable Care Act (ACA) premium tax credits and cost-sharing reductions more generous, and expand eligibility for them.
- Establish an insurance affordability fund to support any unexpected high costs for caring for those with serious health conditions or to otherwise lower premiums or cost-sharing for ACA marketplace enrollees.
- Restore federal funding for outreach and enrollment programs.
- Automatically enroll and renew individuals eligible for Medicaid and premium-free ACA marketplace plans.
- Provide incentives for additional states to expand Medicaid, in order to close the low-income coverage gap.
Read the full statement of principles (PDF).
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