MARTINEZ, Calif. – U.S. Representative Mark DeSaulnier (D-Walnut Creek) has introduced a health care bill that is a companion to legislation introduced by California United States Senator Dianne Feinstein.
DeSaulnier, who represents a portion of Martinez in the House, said if his bill passes, it would make health insurance more affordable for middle-class families.
In announcing his legislation, DeSaulnier’s statement said, “While the vast majority of people get assistance with their health care costs, more than 20 million Americans purchase health insurance through the individual marketplace many without assistance, often leaving them with outrageously high premiums.”
He said the Affordable Health Insurance for the Middle Class Act (H.R. 5258) would help give Americans access to coverage by eliminating the income cap on receiving subsidies to help pay for health premiums.
“Under this bill, no individual or family would have to pay more than 9.69 percent of their monthly income toward health insurance premiums,” his statement said. Feinstein has introduced companion legislation to H.R. 5258 in the U.S. Senate.
“Health insurance premiums are expected to skyrocket by 35 to 94 percent in the next three years, due in large part to the Trump administration’s efforts to undermine the ACA (Affordable Care Act), and the current income cap prevents many middle class individuals and families from receiving the help they need to purchase insurance,” he said.
“I am lucky to be a survivor of cancer, and fortunate to have purchased Contra Costa Health Plan insurance, or the expense of treatment could have bankrupted me,” he said.
“This bill would provide assistance to families to help them balance the costs of health care with their other expenses – many of which are exponentially higher in the Bay Area than in the rest of the country.”
He said his party, the Democrats, want to make the ACA work better for families nationwide by modifying its affordability within the individual market.
“One solution is our bill to eliminate the sharp cut-off for tax-credit subsidies that blocks middle-class families from receiving financial help,” his statement said.
“The Commonwealth Fund has analyzed this change and the benefits are clear—1.2 million people would gain coverage, premiums overall would decrease and the individual market would have a better balance of healthy and sick enrollees,” DeSaulnier’s statement said.
His statement said 400,000 people who are insured struggle to pay their premiums. The companion bills would let them gain access to tax-credit subsidies, he said.
Americans between ages 50-64, who make up about 96 percent of those who would be helped by the legislation, would see the greatest benefit because they pay up to three times more for insurance, he said.