Sen. Warner introduces legislative fixes to improve existing Affordable Care Act

U.S. Sen. Mark R. Warner (D-VA) introduced three proposals today with targeted fixes to improve the existing Affordable Care Act (ACA) by providing greater stability to health care markets while expanding choices and lowering coverage costs for consumers.

mark warnerThe legislative package includes measures that would create a new, lower-cost health coverage option for consumers and guarantee that states can receive federal Medicaid matching funds regardless of when they choose to expand Medicaid under provisions of the ACA. A third measure introduced by Sen. Warner would launch a process which leads to allowing insurers to sell health policies across state lines. These bills were previously introduced in the 113th and 114th Congresses.

“Since we first began debating health care reform in Congress, I have said both parties need to work together to improve the Affordable Care Act to ensure our health care system works better for more people. What we have seen instead are several ineffective efforts to repeal the ACA, combined now with active attempts to undermine the existing system for political reasons – all of which puts coverage for millions of Americans at risk,”  said Sen. Warner. “These commonsense reforms will give families additional coverage choices and price points to meet their medical and financial needs. My legislation also seeks to provide more stability to health care markets in states which chose to expand Medicaid under the ACA, while also providing additional assurances to encourage non-expansion states like Virginia to reconsider.”

The Warner package of health care reforms include:

  • The Expanded Consumer Choice Act would create a new coverage option, the Copper Plan, which would be offered to consumers along with the existing Platinum, Gold, Silver, and Bronze health care plans. Copper plans would provide a lower-cost, higher-deductible, federal-assistance eligible option for consumers, while also covering the essential health benefits and consumer protections required of all health care plans offered through the Affordable Care Act (ACA), which analyses have shown could decrease the cost of premiums by as much as 17 percent.
  • The States Achieve Medicaid Expansion (SAME) Act would provide each state expanding its Medicaid program with the same levels of Federal matching funds, regardless of when it chooses to expand the program. The bill would make the expansion as good a deal for those states choosing to expand Medicaid as those that did so in 2014. 
  • The Commonsense Competition and Access to Health Insurance Act would allow insurers to offer coverage across state boundaries, which would increase choice and competition among plans, potentially driving down costs while maintaining quality and value.

Sen. Warner has been at the forefront of providing solutions to the ongoing challenges of our current health care system and remains committed to working for responsible improvements to the Affordable Care Act that guarantee affordable health care coverage, while preventing insurers from denying coverage because of pre-existing health conditions, charging women more than men, or dropping someone’s coverage when they get sick. He recently led a bipartisan effort to push for the study of outcome-based arrangements to lower prescription drug costs and has been a vocal opponent of Trumpcare.

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