House Democratic leaders March 25 unveiled the Protecting Pre-Existing Conditions and Making Health Care More Affordable Act of 2019— draft legislation that seeks to build off the Affordable Care Act (ACA P.L. 111-148 and P.L. 111-152) to lower health care costs and strengthen protections for people with pre-existing conditions.
The bill was jointly introduced by the chairmen of the three committees of jurisdiction — Energy and Commerce Committee Chair Frank Pallone (D-N.J.), Ways and Means Committee Chair Richard Neal (D-Mass.), and Education and Labor Committee Chair Bobby Scott (D-Va.). Among other provisions, the bill would:
- Strengthen tax credits in the marketplace to lower health insurance premiums;
- Provide funding for reinsurance programs;
- Curtail the administration’s use of waivers to undermine protections for people with pre-existing conditions and weaken standards for essential health plans;
- Reverse the administration’s policies to expand short-term limited duration health plans; and
- Empower states to innovate and invest in enrolling more people in affordable health coverage.
The release of the bill came one day after the Department of Justice issued a statement supporting the District Court ruling in the Texas v. United States lawsuit, which found that the entire ACA should be invalid.
Upon the release of this bill, Speaker Nancy Pelosi stated, “While the Trump Administration broadens its monstrous ambitions from destroying protections for pre-existing conditions to tearing down every last benefit and protection the Affordable Care Act provides, Democrats are putting forward new legislation to lower health insurance premiums and strengthen protections for America’s families.”