The AAMC joined other health care stakeholders in an April 28 letter to House and Senate leaders requesting that Congress ensure that Americans have access to health care coverage throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.
The letter was sent to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.); the American Hospital Association; America’s Health Insurance Plans; the American Medical Association; the Pharmaceutical Care Management Association; and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce were among the signatories.
The letter urges congressional leaders to “take immediate action to support employers and workers by protecting and expanding high quality, affordable health care coverage,” which includes unemployment insurance and Medicaid. It also notes that employers need support to ensure “stable, secure coverage.”
The letter outlines several actions that Congress can take, including:
- Providing employers with temporary subsidies to preserve health benefits.
- Covering the cost of coverage through the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA).
- Expanding the use of health savings accounts.
- Opening a special enrollment period for health insurance marketplaces.
- Increasing eligibility for federal subsidies for the health insurance marketplaces.
The letter also cautions against the Department of Health and Human Services’ decision to use a portion of the provider relief fund authorized in Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act (P.L. 116-136) [see Washington Highlights, March 27] to cover the costs of the uninsured, noting that this “approach will quickly deplete the Emergency Fund and not provide the benefits of comprehensive coverage, which include protections against preexisting conditions and establishing a regular connection between patients and care providers.”