Debbie Johnston, Senior Vice President of Policy Development
House Democrats this week unveiled a draft legislative package to strengthen the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Called the Protecting Pre-existing Conditions and Making Healthcare More Affordable Act of 2019, the bill includes a number of consumer-protections that Democrats have previously proposed. However, it would not restore cost-sharing payments to insurers. Some of the provisions include:
Increasing and expanding federal subsidies
Establishing a national reinsurance program
Funding for states to set up their own insurance marketplace
Reversing the Administration's actions to expand association health plans and short-term health plans
Fixing the so-called “family glitch”
The Democrat’s proposal comes on the heels of an announcement Monday by the Department of Justice that it believes the entire ACA should be invalidated because the individual mandate has been set at $0. This position is a reversal of the DOJ’s earlier argument that parts of the ACA are severable from the individual mandate and core ACA consumer protections. The announcement was made in a short letter to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, which was not accompanied by a legal brief explaining the Department’s new position. The DOJ is expected to file its next brief by April 24th alongside plaintiffs who are challenging the law.