Wednesday, December 8, 2021

The American Rescue Plan expanded access to health care

By Colin Allred

U.S. Rep. TX-32
North Texans are finally getting much needed help from the American Rescue Plan, the relief package Congress passed in March to help our country recover and end the COVID-19 pandemic.
In this plan, we set out to meet the extraordinary circumstances of this moment by passing historic legislation that would put shots in arms, money in pockets, kids back in school, and folks back to work. The plan features a range of provisions aimed at providing relief, like free vaccines, enhanced unemployment benefits, small business loans, aid to states and cities, and relief checks.
In a health crisis like this with so many losing their jobs, it was also critical that we made sure Americans could get access to quality, affordable health care. That’s why we included provisions in the American Rescue Plan that lower health care costs and increase access to give families peace of mind as we fight COVID-19.
Congress dramatically expanded subsidies to help millions of folks afford coverage and now, according to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, the American Rescue Plan strengthens the Affordable Care Act and will help 1.3 million people without insurance finally get covered.

U.S. Rep. Colin Allred (D-TX32) (Courtesy Photo

Additionally, the bill will provide 6 million Americans the ability to sign up for a health plan with no monthly premium charge. Millions more will now finally gain access to financial help through healthcare.gov by ensuring that no one will pay more than 8.5% of their income on their premium.

Texas has one of the highest uninsured rates in the country, with one of every four Dallas County residents going without health insurance. In addition, Texas has yet to expand Medicaid, leaving nearly a million Texans without the care they need, which is critical especially during this pandemic and particularly hurts Black and Latino Texans.

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Everywhere I go, North Texans tell me that health care is their top concern, which is why I’ve made it my top priority in Congress. On my first day in office, I led the effort in the House of Representatives against a Texas lawsuit seeking to undermine the Affordable Care Act. Now, with a new Congress and President Joe Biden, we have put an end to the cynical sabotage of Americans’ health care and we are ready to move forward.
There is so much work to do to make health care more affordable for every American, and we took a big step forward with the passage of the American Rescue Plan.
Thanks to the plan, a family of four earning $40,000 would go from paying a $136 premium for their health care, to nothing. A family of four making $90,000 would see their premiums decrease by $200 a month. The plan also incentivizes states like Texas, who haven’t expanded Medicaid eligibility, to do so and provide critical care to those who need it, especially our most vulnerable communities.

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Additionally, the American Rescue Plan provides a 100% federal continuation health coverage subsidy, also known as COBRA, through September 1, so those who have lost their jobs or lost their health care due to reduced hours because of the pandemic don’t lose their health care.
As someone who was raised by a single mother here in North Texas, I can imagine how stressful this time has been for many working families, compounded by so much uncertainty. But I hope that if you need health care, you can take advantage of the new Affordable Care Act provisions in the American Rescue Plan and worry about one less thing as we all work to end this pandemic.

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Please visit healthcare.gov to sign up and choose a plan that works for you and your family. The special enrollment period ends August 15, 2021. My office is here to help North Texans navigate this process so visit allred.house.gov to learn how to get in touch.

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