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Wexton Votes to Pass Bipartisan Legislation to Lower Health Care Costs and Prescription Drug Prices

The bill would strengthen the Affordable Care Act and protections for those with pre-existing conditions, while the Trump administration asks the Supreme Court to tear the law down

Washington, DC -- Today, Congresswoman Jennifer Wexton (D-VA) voted to pass the bipartisan Patient Protection and Affordable Care Enhancement Act to build on the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and lower the cost of health care and prescription drugs. The vote on this legislation comes just days after the Trump administration filed their brief asking the Supreme Court to strike down the ACA in its entirety.

"Confronted by unprecedented economic uncertainty in the midst of a deadly pandemic, access to affordable health care has never been more important for our families,” said Congresswoman Jennifer Wexton. “Yet, even during a public health crisis, the Trump administration has pressed forward to dismantle the Affordable Care Act, just days ago filing its brief with the Supreme Court to strike down the law in its entirety. We must build on the ACA, not tear it apart. That’s why I’m proud to vote for legislation today to reduce premiums for Virginians, lower the cost of prescription drugs, and strengthen protections for pre-existing conditions."

The bill significantly increases the ACA’s affordability subsidies, expanding tax credits to lower Americans’ Marketplace health insurance premiums and allowing more middle-class individuals and families to qualify for subsidies. It also would provide funding for reinsurance initiatives to further lower premiums, deductibles, and other out-of-pocket costs. For the first time, no person would have to pay more than 8.5 percent of their income for a benchmark silver plan in the ACA marketplaces, and many Americans would see their premiums cut in half or more:

  • A family of four earning $40,000 would save nearly $1,600 in premiums each year.
  • A 64-year-old earning $57,420 would save more than $8,700 in premiums each year.
  • A single adult with income of $31,900 would see premiums cut in half. 
  • An adult earning $19,140 would see premiums cut to zero, saving $800 dollars a year. 

Also included in the legislation is the transformational drug price negotiation mechanism passed by the House as part of H.R. 3, the Elijah E. Cummings Lower Drug Costs Now Act, in December. This provision would help prevent Americans from paying higher prices for medicines than pharmaceutical companies charge for the same drugs overseas.

The bill expands coverage, delivering funding for states who want to establish their own state-based Marketplaces, as Virginia is preparing to do, restoring outreach and advertising funding for the ACA that was slashed by the Trump administration, and incentivizing Medicaid Expansion. It also reverses the Trump administration’s expansion of junk health insurance plans and curtails the administration’s efforts to grant states waivers to undermine protections for people with pre-existing conditions and weaken standards for essential health benefits.

Finally, the bill combats inequity in health coverage faced by communities of color, expanding more affordable coverage to vulnerable populations and fighting the maternal mortality epidemic by requiring states to extend Medicaid or CHIP coverage to new mothers for a full year postpartum.

The full text of the legislation can be found here. A fact sheet on the legislation can be found here.