As Congress finalizes its health reform bill, HCFANY is highlighting priority areas to achieve affordable, comprehensive health care for all. HCFANY’s priorities:
For health reform to be effective, it must be affordable. HCFANY urges Congress to accept the House affordability schedule for people below 150% of the Federal Poverty Level (FPL)–$27,465 for a family of three–and the Senate affordability schedule for people above 250% FPL. Read more here.
2. Support Current Public Insurance Programs
HCFANY urges Congress to adopt the House language expanding Medicaid to 150% FPL. HCFANY also urges Congress to adopt the Senate language for the State Child Health Insurance Program (SCHIP), which maintains SCHIP until 2019 and increases federal matching funds from 2014-2019. Read more here.
The Senate and House bills do not go far enough when it comes to improving immigrant access to health care. HCFANY urges Congress to adopt the House bill language that allows anyone–including undocumented immigrants–to purchase health insurance on the Exchange at full price with their own money. HCFANY also urges that Congress adopt Senate amendment 2991 that enables all states to cover legal immigrants without the five year bar. Read more here.
4. Women’s Health
Women stand to gain from provisions in both bills, but also face a major obstruction to comprehensive care when it comes to abortion coverage. HCFANY urges Congress to go back to the Capps Amendment, which preserves the ban on using federal funds for abortion. Read more here.
5. Insurance Reforms
Both bills go to great lengths to improve the private insurance system by banning and restricting harmful practices. HCFANY urges Congress to adopt the House bill, which bans life-time and pre-existing condition limits, defines an essential benefit package, and sets an age-ratio of 2:1, instead of the Senate bill’s 3:1 ratio.
Both bills address the need to reduce racial and ethnic disparities in health by increased reporting and monitoring. HCFANY urges Congress to adopt the House bill language that increases funding for translation services for adults in Medicaid, promotes cultural and linguistic competence training for health care professionals, and increases funding for community health centers ($12 billion over five years). Read more here.
7. Consumer Assistance
Consumer assistance programs help people understand and use their health care–they are vital to making sure health reform is successful. HCFANY urges Congress to adopt and improve the Senate bill language by increasing funding to $100 million (from $30 million) and guaranteeing that consumer driven not-for-profits will be tapped to provide these essential consumer assistance services. Read more here.
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