Measure seeks to lower healthcare costs, expand health insurance access


U.S. Sens. Tim Kaine (D-VA) and Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) have joined 14 colleagues in co-sponsoring legislation seeking to lower healthcare costs and expand health insurance access.

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The Improving Health Insurance Affordability Act would permanently expand support for Americans who purchase health insurance through the Affordable Care Act Marketplace.

“As I travel across Virginia, I often hear about the need to expand access to health care and make coverage more affordable,” said Kaine,
a member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee. “The enhanced subsidies we passed in the American Rescue Plan and Inflation Reduction Act are making a huge difference in helping more Virginians access affordable health care. I’m proud to introduce this legislation to permanently extend this enhanced support and help more Americans get the health care they need and deserve.”

Bill provisions include making enhanced subsidies for Affordable Care Act Health Insurance Marketplace coverage, extended through 2025 in the Inflation Reduction Act, permanent; designating the second-lowest-cost Gold plan the benchmark plan upon which premium subsidies are based; and increasing the value of cost-sharing reduction (CSR) assistance for those with income between 100 and 250 percent of FPL (Federal Poverty Level) while expanding eligibility for CSR assistance to people with income up to 400 percent of FPL.

The lawmakers cited an Urban Institute report determining the legislation would reduce the uninsured population by more than a million Americans while saving billions of dollars for households, employers, and the government.

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