WASHINGTON—U.S. Senator Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), a member of the U.S. Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee, U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), and U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) this week introduced the Fair Indexing for Health Care Affordability Act—legislation to reverse the Trump administration’s recent rule change that would make fewer Americans eligible for the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) premium tax credits, and cause those who are eligible to receive less in tax credit support.
Earlier this year, the Trump administration changed the index by which eligibility for the ACA’s premium tax credits and maximum out-of-pocket limits are set each year, resulting in a 2.5 percent increase in the maximum out-of-pocket limit in 2020 compared to where out-of-pocket limits would have been under the old indexing factor. This change results in a $200 increase in the cap on out-of-pocket costs for individuals, and a $400 per year increase for families.
“The goal of the Affordable Care Act was to make health care more accessible for individuals and families, but the Trump administration has been hell bent on doing the opposite. I’m proud to partner with Senator Shaheen to find solutions to lower the cost of care. The Fair Indexing for Health Care Affordability Act reverses the Trump administration’s harmful regulation that increases out of pocket expenses for ACA marketplace plans so families aren’t hit with hundreds of dollars in premium increases next year,” said Murphy.
“While my colleagues and I are committed to lowering health care costs and increasing access to quality health services, the Trump administration continues to impose new costs on the middle class. We cannot allow the administration to defy Congress by reducing federal assistance for those struggling with significant health insurance costs. The administration’s action is morally wrong and must not stand. I am proud to support this measure that will return money to the pocketbooks of Connecticut’s middle class families,” said Blumenthal.
“The Trump administration continues to attack the Affordable Care Act and drive up health care costs for thousands of Granite Staters and millions of Americans. It has to stop,” said Shaheen. “That’s why I’m introducing legislation to reverse one of the Trump administration’s latest efforts to sabotage the Affordable Care Act, which changed eligibility for health care tax credits and spiked out-of-pocket limits for patient’s medical expenses. The President bypassed Congress and implemented new requirements that will cause increases in out-of-pocket costs that American families can ill afford in 2020. I appreciate Senator Murphy’s partnership on this bill, which would invalidate the President’s regulation and protect patients from being forced to pay more out-of-pocket for their care. I will continue to defend the ACA from the administration’s attacks and will keep working to find common-sense solutions to improve our health care law to work for every American.”
In April, the Trump administration finalized a regulatory adjustment that, beginning for Plan Year 2020, will change the indexing factor that is used to determine eligibility for the Affordable Care Act’s premium tax credits and calculate the maximum out-of-pocket limit that health plans can set each year. This rule change replaces an indexing factor that is based on premium growth from employer-based plans with a new indexing factor that is based on premium growth across all private plans.
In June, Murphy offered an amendment to the Lower Health Care Costs Act during the HELP Committee markup requesting that the Trump administration provide information for states and Congress to better understand the potential consequences of repealing the ACA. Murphy also published an op-ed in the Hartford Courant on this in July and in Modern Healthcare in September. Last week, Murphy published an op-ed in the CT Mirror marking the start of open enrollment season and highlighting the importance of health care coverage.
The full text of the legislation is available here.