July 3, 2020
This week, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) was at the center of several decisions made by President Trump and Congress. Meeting a deadline set by the Supreme Court, the Trump administration filed its opening brief for the ongoing Texas v. U.S. case, asking the Court to fully repeal the ACA. They argued that without a tax penalty for the Individual Mandate (the requirement for people to purchase health insurance), the rest of the law cannot stand.
Public health officials are concerned about cuts to health care services in the midst of a pandemic, with some estimates showing as many as 23 million Americans would lose insurance coverage.
After the administration filed the brief, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi responded, saying there is “no moral excuse for the Trump administration’s disastrous efforts to take away Americans’ health care.”
As part of their response, the House Democrats introduced H.R. 1425, The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Enhancement Act, which passed earlier this week. The bill includes several provisions from previous efforts to address concerns in the ACA, mostly focusing on increasing access through financial assistance:
1. Expanded tax credits to lower health insurance premiums
2. Subsidies to families who do not have employer-sponsored health insurance
3. Additional funding for reinsurance initiatives to further lower premiums, deductibles, and other out-of-pocket costs
4. Drug price negotiation
5. Elimination of “junk” health insurance plans that do not require coverage for essential health benefits (such as cancer screenings) or for those with pre-existing conditions
The bill will now move to the Senate, where it is unlikely to pass in its current form; however, it provides Senate Republicans with a template for negotiations moving forward.
This is a developing story, and we will provide updates as they occur.
Last week, Colorado Governor Jared Polis signed legislation that will restrict exemptions from vaccines across the state. The School Entry Immunization Act is intended to increase the vaccination rate, as Colorado has one of the lowest rates in the country.
Parents will have to take an additional step when seeking an exemption. They will now be mandated to either receive an exemption notice signed by a medical professional or take a class on vaccines to receive a certificate to present to schools. Children who are home-schooled are exempt.
In addition to the restrictions, the Colorado Department of Public Health will have until the end of the year to create and disseminate a standardized vaccination exemption form. After the form is circulated, schools will be required to start reporting vaccination rates to the state by February 15.
The Prevent Cancer Foundation® applauds Gov. Polis for his leadership and his commitment to ensuring children receive critical vaccinations.
From all of us at the Prevent Cancer Foundation, we wish you a happy and healthy Independence Day! While it is certainly a day to celebrate, please follow appropriate CDC guidelines while in public or hosting friends and family at your home. Remember to stay at least 6 feet away when interacting with anyone who does not live with you and wear a mask to limit exposure to the coronavirus.
Don’t forget to put on sunscreen and wear protective clothing to cover any exposed skin!