Protect and Improve the ACA

Congressman Gerry Connolly
2017-04-07 17:04:52
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Dear Neighbor,

Ensuring that every American has access to high-quality and affordable health care is one of the most important challenges we face as a nation. Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, we are closer than ever to achieving that goal.

Today, more than 20 million previously uninsured Americans have gained quality coverage. Here in Virginia, more than 327,000 people have gained insurance, and if Republicans in Richmond would accept Medicaid expansion, an additional 226,000 people would be covered. Our district had the largest enrollment in the health exchange and our uninsured rate has dropped from 12.7% to 10.7%.

The ACA also implemented critical reforms and consumer protections. Insurance companies can no longer deny someone health insurance due to a pre-existing condition or drop your coverage due to annual or lifetime caps. Children can stay on their parent's health insurance plan until they turn 26. We are working to close the Medicare prescription drug “donut hole,” which has saved seniors in Virginia more than $1,100 on drug costs. And health care costs are increasing at the slowest rate in recent history.

The Republican repeal plan, however, would have been a unilateral retreat from the progress we’ve made. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office found that this plan would rip health care away from 24 million people by 2026, including 14 million people next year. In our district, more than 45,000 of our neighbors would have lost their health care, including more than 4,000 children and individuals with disabilities currently receiving care through Medicaid.

Older Americans would have been forced to pay more for their insurance. For example, Fairfax and Prince William Counties, the average premium for a 60-year-old would have increased $5,990 per year. The House majority’s plan also would have eliminated essential health benefits we rely on, including pregnancy and maternity care, mental health, preventive and wellness care, emergency services, and drug treatment.

The ACA has been the difference between life and death for so many people who have been locked out of the system for years. Can it be improved? Of course. But rather than dismantle this program we should build on its successes and find bipartisan improvements.

We need to search for ways to encourage younger Americans to join the marketplaces. We need to bring down prescription drug costs by promoting price competition. We need to extend the risk-mitigation program that promotes market certainty and ensures insurance companies continue to participate in the marketplaces. And we should help states like Virginia expand Medicaid coverage. Those goals should find bipartisan support. As your Congressman, I will continue to fight to improve this critical program.

Sincerely,


Gerald E. Connolly
Member of Congress
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