Governor Wolf urges Congress to preserve Affordable Care Act grants to ensure health care remains affordable for tens of thousands of Pennsylvanians

Governor Tom Wolf is urging Congress to take action to preserve the Affordable Care Act (ACA) grants to ensure that individuals and families who were eligible for this important grant can continue to get health care.

In a joint letter, Governor Wolf and 13 other governors urged Congress to take action and ensure funding is in place to preserve ACA grants known as Advanced Tax Credits on bonuses.
(APTC), which were extended by the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021. ARPA’s expanded grant eligibility is set to expire at the end of the current plan year, leaving consumers exposed to increases in spectacular bonuses.

“Tens of thousands of Pennsylvanians will be impacted if this subsidy extension expires in December, which means their insurance premiums will increase, putting individuals at risk to their health and finances. It’s critical that we continue to make affordable coverage as accessible as possible to as many people as possible, and I commend President Joe Biden for his leadership in not only expanding coverage under ARPA, but making it permanent. said Governor Wolf. . “I urge Congress to make these grants permanent so Pennsylvanians can continue to have a better quality of life through comprehensive and affordable ACA coverage.”

Governor Wolf has made access to affordable health coverage a priority throughout his administration.

In July 2019, Governor Wolf signed legislation establishing Pennie, the state-based ACA marketplace. Pennie replaces as Pennsylvania’s official destination for shopping for quality health insurance plans and the only source for financial assistance to help with the cost of coverage and care. Currently, there are nearly 360,000 Pennie customers across the Commonwealth.

In addition to Pennie, Governor Wolf expanded Medicaid in 2015 — one of his first acts as governor — ensuring more Pennsylvanians have access to medical assistance in Pennsylvania. Today, more than 3.3 million Pennsylvanians are covered by medical assistance, including nearly one million people thanks to the expansion. By expanding access to health care, the Commonwealth achieved the lowest uninsured rate in Pennsylvania history under the Wolf administration and insurance rates are now the most stable in a year on the other than they ever were.

See a copy of the letter:

As governors, we strive to expand access to quality, affordable health care for people in our states. Since the start of the pandemic, we have seen the tragic impact of the disease among the uninsured and underinsured, especially in communities of color and other underserved populations. As we have experienced during the COVID-19 pandemic, access to affordable health insurance can sometimes mean the difference between life and death. At a time when governments at all levels are scrambling to find ways to reduce costs for the American people, we cannot let the looming specter of rising healthcare costs cause more uncertainty and stress. to American families. Therefore, we urge you to take action and ensure funding is in place to preserve the Affordable Care Act (ACA) grants known as Advanced Premium Tax Credits (APTC).

We commend Congress for passing the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (ARP), which expanded and enhanced the ACA’s APTCs. The expansion of ARP grants, along with the Biden administration’s investment in marketing and enrollment support, led to a record 14.5 million people signing up for ACA coverage in the during the last open registration period, an increase of 21% compared to the previous year.

Health insurance coverage is key to ensuring consumers have access to health care, and the best way to increase enrollment is to make coverage more affordable. ARP has reduced costs for consumers: families have saved an average of $200 per month in premiums, and four out of five consumers are eligible to get a plan of $10 or less. The ARP expanded access to financial assistance and increased the number of consumers eligible for subsidies by 2.8 million in 2022 compared to the previous year. a historic opportunity to leverage these enrollment gains and affordability improvements next year and beyond.

Unfortunately, eligibility for ARP’s expanded subsidies is set to expire at the end of the current plan year, leaving consumers exposed to dramatic premium increases and threatening the progress we have made. As inflation continues to weigh on consumer budgets, we fear that many people will choose to reduce their health insurance coverage or even go without coverage if Congress does not act. The Biden administration estimates that about 3.4 million currently enrolled consumers could lose coverage if the ARP subsidy extensions expire at the end of 2022. The expiration of the enhanced subsidies would also result in lower enrollments and higher premiums. , destabilizing health insurance markets. , and having an impact on affordability for the entire population. Additionally, as the public health emergency is expected to end in the coming months, some consumers will no longer be eligible for Medicaid but may become eligible for ACA grants. Without the enhanced subsidies to ensure there are affordable market options, these consumers risk becoming uninsured.

Health is a right, not a privilege. The ARP has dramatically improved the affordability of health insurance to ensure that vital health care is available to all Americans. We urge you to act immediately to make the expanded ARP grants permanent to avoid a disastrous erosion of health insurance coverage.

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