Congresswoman Schakowsky Votes to Enhance the Affordable Care Act and Against GOP Health Care Sabotage

June 29, 2020
Press Release

WASHINGTON, DC - Today, Congresswoman Schakowsky, a Senior Chief Deputy Whip and Chair of the Energy and Commerce Consumer Protection and Commerce Subcommittee, took bold action to lower health costs, prescription drug prices, and the U.S. uninsured rate by voting to pass the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Enhancement Act. The legislation, which incorporates two Schakowsky bills, passed by a vote of 234-179 and comes just days after the Trump Administration filed a brief asking the Supreme Court to strike down the entirety of the Affordable Care Act during a pandemic and recession.

“I would think that my colleagues on the other side of the aisle would get tired of trying to take health care away from Americans, particularly right now,” Congresswoman Schakowsky said on the House floor today. “The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Enhancement Act builds off the historic progress we made when we passed the ACA 10 years ago. The bill includes the No More Narrow Networks Act that I introduced in March to ensure that consumers can access more comprehensive, equitable, and timely health care within their own insurance network. It also includes the Protecting Consumers from Unreasonable Rates Act that I have introduced since we first passed the ACA to allow the federal government to lower prices when premiums are too high. This is a great bill.”

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

  • significantly increases the ACA’s affordability subsidies so that no person will pay more than 8.5 percent of their income on a silver plan in the Marketplaces;
  • expands coverage and pushes hold-out states to adopt Medicaid expansion;
  • negotiates lower prescription drug prices so that Americans no longer have to pay more for our medicines than Big Pharma charges for the same drugs overseas;
  • cracks down on junk plans and strengthens protections for people with pre-existing conditions; and
  • combats inequity in health coverage faced by communities of color—particularly the Black maternal mortality epidemic—by expanding Medicaid coverage to one-year postpartum.

While House Democrats passed this bill to make health coverage more affordable, accessible, and equitable for all, Republicans continue to try to rip away health coverage. Last week, the Trump Administration filed a brief asking the Supreme Court to strike down the ACA, a move that would have disastrous consequences.

  • A new report from the Center for American Progress found more than 23 million Americans, including 736,000 Illinoisans, are now at risk of losing needed coverage amid the coronavirus pandemic if the Trump Administration is successful.
  • A December 2019 analysis from the Urban Institute found the elimination of the ACA would have a disproportionate impact on communities of color already facing health disparities that are being exacerbated by COVID-19, including nearly doubling the uninsured rate among Black individuals.

On March 23, Congresswoman Schakowsky led 127 of her Democratic colleagues in sending a letter to President Trump calling on him to end the lawsuit that seeks to end the ACA and protect the health care of all Americans during the current global health crisis:

Our country is facing an extraordinary crisis as the world works to mitigate the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic,” the Members wrote. You must guarantee that every individual in the United States affected by COVID-19 can access the medical treatment, services, and therapeutics that they need. However, you will be unable to do so if the Supreme Court of the United States strikes down the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), leaving hundreds of millions of people without health insurance or protections for preexisting conditions.”