Press Release

On 11th Anniversary of the Affordable Care Act, Rep. Castor Introduces Two Bills to Improve Access to Affordable, Quality Health Care

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Washington, March 24, 2021 | comments

Eleven years ago this week, President Barack Obama signed the Affordable Care Act (ACA) into law - a landmark law U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor (FL14) proudly helped draft to lower costs and expand access to care. Now, with an eye on lowering costs and expanding access, Rep. Castor introduced two pieces of legislation to build on the successes of the ACA by funding the Navigators who connect Americans with health plans and ensuring junk plans now must comply with the ACA’s consumer protections.

Rep. Castor spoke in support of these bills at an Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health hearing this week, and video can be found here.

“The Affordable Care Act has provided affordable, comprehensive coverage to over 2.1 million Floridians, and outlawed discrimination for preexisting health conditions, strengthened Medicare and allows kids to stay on their parents’ plan to age 26. And with passage of the American Rescue Plan, consumers will see lower costs through new tax credits for quality coverage, including 318,000 newly eligible uninsured Floridians. I’m proud to have championed the ACA 11 years ago and am committed to universal, affordable coverage for all.

H.R. 1874 – the Expand Navigators’ Resources for Outreach, Learning and Longevity (ENROLL) Act guarantees funding for Navigator initiatives that provide critical assistance to help hardworking individuals and families pick the health plan that is right for them. 

“Families in Florida and across America have been aided every year by independent Navigators, including the critical effort lead by USF Florida Covering Kids and Families, that help people find the best option for their health insurance. The incredible work of local Navigators has allowed the Sunshine State to lead the way in ACA marketplace sign ups every year. My ENROLL Act will provide certainty for Floridians by securing funding for the vital services that independent, unbiased Navigators provide to our neighbors before, during and after Affordable Care Act open enrollment,” said Rep. Castor.

“The Affordable Care Act, now significantly bolstered by the American Rescue Plan, provides a tremendous opportunity to expand health coverage to young adults everywhere - greatly increasing coverage rates and affordability thanks to the new subsidies and option for Medicaid expansion. However, these new benefits alone won’t create progress if people don’t have the knowledge and resources to access them. That’s why consumer assistance is so incredibly important in bridging the gap between policy and practice. Navigators have played a crucial role in making sure vulnerable populations like young adults know about their health coverage options and enroll in coverage that is right for them. We are thrilled to see the ENROLL Act included in today’s hearing, on the 11th anniversary of the ACA, a bill that would make great strides in improving access to coverage and reducing disparities for millions of young people,” said Erin Hemlin, Health Policy and Advocacy Director, Young Invincibles.

H.R. 1875 – would eliminate the exemption for short-term, limited duration insurance (STLDI), or “junk plans” from the ACA’s consumer protections like bans on preexisting condition exclusions, charging our neighbors with preexisting conditions more or bars annual and lifetime limits.

“So many companies are taking advantage of our neighbors who are searching for health plans and luring them into purchasing cheap, but insufficient coverage. Just last week, a local couple with a junk insurance plan was dropped without notice and had to pay out of pocket for a CAT scan. This is outrageous, and we can’t have our neighbors to suffer from these surprise costs anymore. The fraudulent tactics that these plans engage in to skirt paying medical bills go against the grain of what the ACA set out to do and were pushed by the Trump Administration and Congressional Republicans when their efforts to repeal the ACA failed. Eliminating junk plans is an important step to increasing transparency in coverage and ensuring Americans aren’t on the hook for costly, out-of-pocket costs,” said Rep. Castor.

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