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Congresswoman Escobar Votes for the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Enhancement Act

Washington, DC, June 29, 2020
Congresswoman Escobar voted for H.R. 1425, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Enhancement Act. This legislation builds on the Affordable Care Act (ACA) to lower health costs and prescription drug prices for all El Pasoans. Today’s vote comes days after the Trump administration filed a brief asking the Supreme Court to strike down the entirety of the ACA.

Today, Congresswoman Veronica Escobar (TX-16) voted for H.R. 1425, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Enhancement Act. This legislation builds on the Affordable Care Act (ACA) to lower health costs and prescription drug prices for all El Pasoans. Today’s vote comes days after the Trump administration filed a brief asking the Supreme Court to strike down the entirety of the ACA.

“In the midst of a pandemic, access to quality, affordable health care is more important than ever for hard-working families in El Paso and across the country,” said Congresswoman Escobar. “Since joining Congress, I have been fighting to expand coverage for all El Pasoans and to oppose the Trump administration’s efforts to sabotage the ACA. This vote delivers on my promise to strengthen access to high-quality, affordable health care, bring costs down, and address the stark racial disparities that have been exposed by the COVID-19 health and economic crisis.”

The bill significantly increases the ACA’s affordability subsidies to be more generous and cover more middle-class families. For the first time, no person will have to pay more than 8.5 percent of their income for a benchmark silver plan in the ACA marketplaces, and many El Pasoans will see significant cuts to their premiums.  

  • 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.

The bill includes the power to negotiate lower drug prices so that El Pasoans no longer have to pay more for our medicines than Big Pharma charges for the same drugs in Mexico and other countries.  

According to a new report from Patients for Affordable Drugs, from January to June, 245 drugs were subject to an average price increase of more than 20 percent.  Of these drugs with price hikes by Big Pharma, more than 75 percent directly relate to the COVID-19 crisis, including 30 drugs that are currently in clinical trials for their effect against the virus.

The bill expands coverage by pressing for Medicaid expansion in Texas and other hold-out states with new carrots and sticks to adopt coverage for 4.8 million uninsured Americans while restoring the outreach and advertising funding that the Trump Administration has slashed to prevent Americans from learning about the affordable health coverage available to them under the ACA.

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 post-partum. Additionally, the bill includes health care access for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients - including over 200,000 Dreamers serving as essential workers - advancing the goals of the ACA and benefiting the American people.

The bill cracks down on junk plans and strengthens protections for people with pre-existing conditions, reversing the Trump administration’s expansion of junk health insurance plans that do not provide coverage for essential medical treatments and drugs and that are allowed to discriminate against people with pre-existing medical conditions.

A fact sheet on the provisions of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Enhancement Act is available here

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