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Pallone & Health Advocates Push Legislation to Strengthen ACA and Lower Insurance Premiums

March 4, 2019
Press Release

Long Branch, NJ – Today at the Visiting Nurse Association of Central Jersey Community Health Center in Asbury Park, NJ Congressman Frank Pallone, Jr. (NJ-06) called for Congress to advance legislation to strengthen the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and lower insurance premiums. As the Chairman of the Energy and Commerce Committee, Pallone is in the process of moving  numerous bills through his Committee that will reduce health care costs and increase outreach and enrollment funding for assistance in signing up for coverage. 

“For the last two years, the Trump Administration has attempted to sabotage the ACA at every turn, jeopardizing coverage for millions of Americans and causing premiums to skyrocket,” said Pallone. “We are working today to stand united against President Trump’s extreme policies, and to make health care more affordable and accessible. The bills being discussed in the Energy and Commerce Committee will strengthen our health care system, reduce costs for New Jerseyans and improve access to care.

Among the bills Pallone is championing is the H.R. 1425, the “State Health Care Premium Reduction Act”, which would provide $10 billion annually to states to establish a state reinsurance program or use the funds to provide financial assistance to reduce out-of-pocket costs for individuals enrolled in qualified health plans. The State of New Jersey has also created its own reinsurance fund to help with out-of-pocket costs. Pallone’s bill would help the state’s efforts and the solvency of the program.

Pallone has been working to end the Trump Administration’s attempts to allow junk insurance plans and to remove protections for people with pre-existing conditions. H.R. 986, the “Protecting Americans with Preexisting Conditions Act of 2019”, would require the Trump Administration to rescind its policy allowing taxpayer subsidies for junk plans and support for health plans that do not provide comprehensive coverage.

Other bills moving through the Energy and Commerce Committee will help increase ACA enrollment, outreach and education.

·         H.R. 987, Marketing and Outreach Restoration to Empower Health Education Act of 2019 or the “MORE Health Education Act”, will restore outreach and enrollment funding to assist consumers in signing up for health care, which has been slashed by the Trump Administration.

·         H.R. 1386, Expand Navigators’ Resources for Outreach, Learning, and Longevity (ENROLL) Act of 2019, would provide $100 million annually for the Federally-facilitated Marketplace (FFM) navigator program.

New Jersey had the option under Governor Christie to establish its own state exchange or marketplace and would have received federal funds to establish a state based marketplace if it had been adopted at the time. Under current law federal funds are no longer available for such a s purpose.  H.R. 1385, the “State Allowance for a Variety of Exchanges (SAVE) Act”, would provide states with $200 million in federal funds to establish state-based Marketplaces. The advantages of state marketplaces are that they are more tailored to the states specific needs than the federal marketplace that New Jersey currently participates in.