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Amid Administration’s Attacks on the U.S. Healthcare System, Spanberger Votes to Protect Pre-Existing Conditions Coverage, Lower Prescription Drug Costs for Virginia Seniors & Families

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Enhancement Act Would Also Lower Health Coverage Costs, Fight the Maternal Mortality Epidemic, & Crack Down on Junk Health Insurance Plans

Washington, June 29, 2020

WASHINGTON, D.C. – In the face of the administration’s ongoing attempts to gut the existing healthcare law, U.S. Representative Abigail Spanberger today voted with a bipartisan majority of the U.S. House of Representatives to pass legislation that would protect healthcare coverage for millions of Virginians with pre-existing conditions, reduce premiums, and lower prescription drug costs for Central Virginia seniors and families.

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Enhancement Act would lower health coverage costs for middle class families, give Medicare the power to negotiate prescription drug prices, and combat inequities in healthcare coverage faced by communities of color. Additionally, the Spanberger-supported legislation would reverse the administration’s expansion of junk health insurance plans that do not provide coverage for essential medical treatment.

This legislation would save Central Virginians thousands of dollars per year on their health insurance premiums. For example, a 40-year-old couple with two kids in Henrico County making $103,258 per year currently pays $1,594 per month in health insurance premiums, or 18.5 percent of income. Under this bill, they would pay $731 per month — a savings of $10,351 per year. A 50-year-old couple with a 25-year-old adult child making $85,533 per year currently pays $1,793 per month in premiums, or 25.15 percent of income. Under this bill, they would pay $606 per month, or 8.5 percent of their income — a savings of $14,246 a year.

“The administration’s continued, reckless attempts to dismantle our healthcare system are nothing more than sabotage, especially during a global pandemic and a nationwide unemployment crisis. If there are problems in our healthcare system, we should fix them — not take senseless actions that endanger those with pre-existing conditions, bring back lifetime caps, or eliminate the ability for young people to stay on their parents’ insurance,” said Spanberger. “Today, I was proud to support commonsense legislation that would strengthen our healthcare system, lower healthcare costs for our district’s working families, and protect coverage for our neighbors with pre-existing conditions like diabetes, cancer, and heart disease. For thousands of Central Virginians, the existing healthcare law is their lifeline for affordable healthcare access, and I’ll keep fighting to address the challenges in our system without compromising the health and financial security of Central Virginia families.”

Last week, Spanberger denounced the administration’s latest effort to dismantle affordable healthcare coverage for millions of Americans still struggling under the weight of a worsening economic slowdown and a global pandemic, which has claimed the lives of more than 100,000 Americans.

Specifically, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Enhancement Act would:

  • Lower health coverage costs by expanding the Affordable Care Act’s insurance affordability subsidies to cover more middle class families. Additionally, no American would need to pay more than 8.5 percent of their income for a silver plan in the health insurance marketplace.
  • Lower prescription drug costs by giving Medicare the power to negotiate for lower drug prices.
  • Combat inequities in health insurance coverage faced by communities of color by expanding more affordable coverage to vulnerable populations. Additionally, it would fight the maternal mortality epidemic by requiring states to extend Medicaid or Chip coverage to new mothers for a full year post-partum.
  • Crack down on junk plans and strengthens protections for people with pre-existing conditions by reversing the administration’s expansion of junk health insurance plans that do not provide coverage for essential medical treatments and drugs and that are allowed to discriminate against people with pre-existing medical conditions.

BACKGROUND

Since taking office, Spanberger has repeatedly sought to stabilize the Affordable Care Act and protect coverage for those with preexisting conditions. In April 2019, she voted in support of the Protecting Pre-Existing Conditions and Making Health Care More Affordable Act, legislation she cosponsored to preserve protections provided under the current healthcare law — including protections for those with pre-existing conditions, prevention of lifetime coverage caps, and the ability for children to remain on their parents’ health insurance plan until the age of 26.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, she has called for the administration to use its authorities under the Affordable Care Act to improve access to health insurance coverage for the uninsured and the millions of recently unemployed American workers.

Spanberger has also led the fight in the House to make healthcare more affordable by reducing the cost of prescription drugs, including:

  • Introducing legislation to increase transparency in the prescription drug industry and shine a light on closed-door negotiations that are likely driving up prices for consumers. Spanberger’s Public Disclosure of Drug Discounts Act passed in the U.S. House with overwhelming bipartisan support last year.
  • Fighting the practices that large pharmaceutical companies use to block cheaper, generic versions of lifesaving medication from reaching the market. The Spanberger-supported CREATES Act passed in the U.S. House last year and was signed into law by President Trump in December 2019.
  • Voting to pass the Lower Prescription Drug Costs Now Act. This legislation would give Medicare the power to negotiate for lower prices on the prescription drugs that our seniors depend on. Spanberger joined a majority of the U.S. House to pass this landmark legislation in December 2019.

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