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Chairman Yarmuth, Reps. Craig, Fletcher, & Wild: CBO Report Will Help Lay the Groundwork for Achieving Universal Health Coverage

Oct 1, 2020

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, House Budget Chairman John Yarmuth (KY-03) and Representatives Angie Craig (MN-02), Lizzie Fletcher (TX-07), and Susan Wild (PA-07) issued statements following the release of a report they requested earlier this year from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO). In their joint letter to the CBO, the members called expanding access to quality, affordable health care to all Americans “one of the greatest policy challenges of our time.” The members asked the CBO to compare multiple policy approaches that could be used to achieve this important objective, and to assess the effects of each approach on outcomes such as premiums, cost-sharing, and coverage.

“The need to close the gaps in health coverage existed long before the coronavirus pandemic, but this public health crisis has exacerbated the dire need for expanded access to affordable, quality health care,” said Chairman Yarmuth. “Even with the important gains made under the Affordable Care Act, more than 26 million Americans still live without coverage and millions more are forced to make the impossible choice between going to the doctor or putting food on their table; filling their gas tank or filling their child’s prescription. We cannot accept this tragic reality as the status quo. We must actively pursue the next wave of health care reforms.”

“My number-one priority in Congress is lowering the costs of health care and prescription drugs,” said Congresswoman Craig. “I requested this report because too many Minnesotans still lack access to the affordable, high-quality care they deserve. I’m proud to have sponsored or cosponsored more than 100 bills – one of which, H.R.1425, is directly noted in the report – to help us build on the progress of the Affordable Care Act and improve our health care system. I’m hopeful that the findings of this report will help us work together toward the goal of universal health coverage for every American.”

“The State of Texas has the highest rate of uninsured people in the country, and COVID-19 has further revealed the gaps in our health care system,” said Congresswoman Fletcher.  “While the Affordable Care Act was a good first step to expanding access to health coverage for people in Texas and across the country, there are still too many who lack access to quality, affordable health care. We requested this report in order to better understand the different options available to close the coverage gap, and I look forward to reviewing the proposals presented.”

“Health care is a right, not a privilege—and although we have secured critical protections under the Affordable Care Act for people with pre-existing conditions and seniors, there is still a disproportionate number of Americans without affordable coverage,” said Congresswoman Wild. “As a part of our efforts to close this gap, I’m proud to see this report come out today as a commitment to exploring all the possibilities that would build on the ACA’s foundation and achieve our goal of providing quality, affordable health care for all Americans.”

A Supreme Court vacancy and President Trump’s ongoing efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act leaves Americans’ right to health care hanging in the balance. President Trump and Republicans are pursuing a lawsuit which would eliminate protections for more than 130 million Americans with pre-existing conditions, send drug costs soaring for seniors on Medicare, and rip insurance away from millions. House Democrats stand firm in their commitment to protect and expand access to affordable, quality health care, and all four Representatives thank CBO for their work on this report, which will help Congress make the best decisions on the future of health coverage in our country.  

A link to the joint letter to the CBO can be found here. A link to the CBO report can be found here.