Elizabeth Warren Has A Plan To Make Health Care Coverage Cheaper And More Reliable
The Massachusetts senator’s new bill would increase consumer subsidies and force insurers to accept tougher rules.
Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) introduced a bill Wednesday aimed at dramatically increasing the affordability and reliability of health insurance plans available on the Affordable Care Act marketplaces.
The legislation, called the Consumer Health Insurance Protection Act, would offer people buying health insurance on their own more financial assistance ― and allow more people to qualify for that assistance. Nobody would have to pay more than 8.5 percent of income on premiums.
Warren does not envision this new plan as an alternative to more ambitious proposals. She remains a co-sponsor of the single-payer legislation introduced by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.).
But as Warren made clear in a January speech before the consumer group Families USA, she understands that enacting a single-payer plan would be difficult ― and that, as a result, private insurance probably won’t disappear overnight. And so she also wants to focus on what can be done right away to subject the industry to the type of stringent consumer protections she has already successfully championed in the financial sector.
“So long as private health insurance exists, we should require these companies to provide coverage that is at least as good and priced as reasonably as the coverage offered by our public health care programs,” Warren said in January.
Sanders is actually a co-sponsor of the Warren bill, as are Democratic Sens. Kamala Harris (Calif.), Maggie Hassan (N.H.), Kirsten Gillibrand (N.Y.) and Tammy Baldwin (Wis.).
Baldwin’s presence is particularly noteworthy as she faces a tough re-election battle this November in a state that Donald Trump won.
The consumer advocacy organizations Families USA, Public Citizen, Consumers Union and Community Catalyst have also endorsed Warren’s bill.