iFiberOne: Can Chelan County’s congressional representative help bring down the cost of healthcare in America? Her bill suggests so…

June 23, 2021Democratic Congresswoman Kim Schrier is one of three members of congress who have introduced a bill that will reduce health co-pays and deductibles for consumers.

Schrier represents Washington state’s eight congressional district which encompasses Chelan and Kittitas counties.

Schrier and congresswoman Terri Sewell of Alabama are co-sponsors of the Capping Costs for Consumers Act, and co-chairs of the New Democrat Coalition Health Care Task Force. The third co-sponsor of the proposed bill is congresswoman Kathy Manning of North Carolina.

“As a doctor, I know that people often put off seeing a doctor for a small issue because of the costs—whether that’s a high deductible before coverage kicks in or an expensive co-pay for an office visit. But then that small issue can become much more serious and costly,” said Rep. Schrier. “The Capping Costs for Consumers Act will bring down the cost of care for millions of Americans to make sure they can access the care they need, when they need it.”

The bill would reduce costs for people enrolled in federal marketplace plans by increasing the value of cost-sharing reduction assistance and expanding eligibility. The aim of the bill is encouraging more Americans to get health insurance to receive necessary care. The proposed legislation reportedly builds off the success of provisions passed in the American Rescue Plan that caps premiums at no more than 8.5% of family income.

Schrier says cost-saving benefits imposed by the bill would translate to an average family in the 8th district saving an estimated $2,500 in out-of-pocket costs–seeing their deductible go down by more than 80% to less than $500.

“Increasing and expanding the federal subsidies available through Washington Healthplanfinder would help tens of thousands of Washingtonians get covered, stay covered, and more effectively use their coverage,” shared Washington Health Benefit Exchange Chief Marketing Officer Michael Marchand. “Customers report skipping needed appointments and stretching medications due to cost concerns. This bill speaks directly to those concerns.”

U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen has been leading this effort in the Senate.

“The COVID-19 pandemic demonstrated just how important access to quality health care is to save lives,” said Senator Shaheen. “Congress must make every effort to lower health care costs for families, which is why I’m proud to lead the effort in the Senate to reduce deductibles, copays and premium costs. I’m encouraged that provisions from my bill were included in President Biden’s American Rescue Plan on a temporary basis, but those changes must be permanent and we must also expand cost-sharing assistance to help lower out-of-pocket costs for American families. Millions of low-and middle-income families are breaking the bank to afford the care they need – this bill is a critical step to strengthen our health care system and ensure no family falls through the cracks. I appreciate Rep. Schrier’s partnership in our effort to reduce deductibles and out-of-pocket costs at this time when people need help most.”