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Spanberger Supports Legislation to Establish Public Health Insurance Option, Lower Costs for Central Virginia Families

The Medicare-X Choice Act Would Increase Choice & Lower Premiums for Central Virginians Under the Age of 65. Legislation is Companion Bill to Public Healthcare Option Proposed by U.S. Senators Tim Kaine & Michael Bennet

Washington, April 30, 2019

U.S. Representative Abigail Spanberger is backing legislation that would help lower health insurance costs through a public health insurance option on the individual and small business health insurance exchanges.

The Spanberger-supported legislation would build on the existing Medicare framework by combining Medicare physician networks and reimbursement rates with coverage standards under the existing healthcare law. In doing so, this bill would facilitate a new, public health insurance option available to Central Virginians and all Americans.

The Medicare-X Choice Act of 2019 is companion legislation to a bill introduced in the U.S. Senate by U.S. Senators Tim Kaine (D-VA) and Michael Bennet (D-CO).

“For too many Americans, limited health insurance competition has made high-quality healthcare coverage unaffordable—particularly in rural areas. To address this massive challenge, one of my top priorities has been to pursue a public healthcare insurance option—and I’m proud to support legislation to begin this process,” said Spanberger. “This commonsense bill would expand access to affordable coverage for all Americans under the age of 65 by harnessing the success of the Medicare program. A widely-available and affordable public option would help bring down high premiums and deductibles, foster competition, and allow those with adequate employer-provided insurance to stay on their plans. As I travel across our district, it’s clear that our neighbors want Congress to lower costs, increase choice, and address rising prescription drug prices—and this proposal presents a solution that can help achieve these worthy goals.”

Under this legislation, the Medicare-X plan would first roll out in rural areas and communities with little health insurance competition on the individual market.

The Medicare-X Choice Act would strengthen the existing healthcare system by providing more options for those under the age of 65. Specifically, individual and family coverage plans would offer Medicare-X, and the Medicare provider network would be expanded to include additional providers like pediatricians and children’s hospitals. Additionally, the bill would make sure Essential Health Benefits—such as maternity, newborn care, and pediatric services—are covered under Medicare-X, and the bill would allow for prescription drug negotiation through Medicare Part D.

The Medicare-X Choice Act is led in the U.S. House by U.S. Representatives  John Larson (D-CT-01), Antonio Delgado (D-NY-26), and Brian Higgins (D-NY-26).

Background

Since arriving in Congress, Spanberger has worked to stabilize the healthcare marketplace, preserve protections for people with pre-existing conditions, and lower the cost of prescription drugs. And last month, Spanberger helped introduce legislation to lower health insurance premiums and protect Central Virginians with pre-existing conditions by stabilizing the current healthcare system. The bill would improve and expand healthcare affordability—and the legislation would strengthen tax credits, improve marketplace stability, and stop insurance companies from selling junk insurance plans.

Spanberger has also pushed back against the ongoing healthcare sabotage that has caused premiums and uninsured rates to increase across the country. Earlier this month, she spoke on the floor of the U.S. House in opposition to efforts to take way healthcare protections from Central Virginians with pre-existing conditions. She also cosponsored and voted in support of a bipartisan resolution to condemn the administration’s active legal campaign to gut the existing healthcare law.

And Spanberger has fought to address the prescription drug affordability crisis in Central Virginia. Yesterday, she announced her support for a bipartisan bill that would make it easier for Central Virginians to access lower-cost generic prescription drugs. Additionally, earlier this month, Spanberger introduced and led a bipartisan bill to hold third-party intermediaries accountable and help address the root causes of the prescription drug affordability crisis. Her legislation passed unanimously out of the House Ways and Means Committee. And in January, she helped introduce the Medicare Negotiation and Competitive Licensing Act, which would authorize the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to negotiate directly with pharmaceutical providers within Medicare Part D to help lower costs.

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