July 28, 2017
PORTLAND, ME – At a press conference at the Portland International Jetport today, U.S. Senator Angus King (I-Maine) discussed the early morning vote in the U.S. Senate on a proposal that would have rolled back many parts of the Affordable Care Act. During the conference, he praised Senator Collins for her courage to cast the first Republican vote against the bill and outlined his support for ten bills that seek to improve the stability of the health care market and lower the costs of treatment and health coverage for people in Maine and across the country.
“When you are elected to the Senate, you take an oath to the Constitution, not to a party or to a president, but to the country. Senator Collins once again showed great courage to stand up to great political pressure to represent the people of Maine. This vote was about people, and that is how we in Maine solve problems, we think about how our votes will impact people,” Senator King said. “It’s time to turn the page to make commonsense fixes that address the issues in the Affordable Care Act and also the underlying costs of coverage, which are far too high in this country. These bills provide a roadmap to address these pressing issues so we can help provide the American people with high-quality, accessible and affordable health care coverage.”
Senator King’s health care priorities are outlined below:
Marketplace Certainty Act (S.1462) – This bill would make cost-sharing reduction payments permanent and expand eligibility up to 400% of the federal poverty level. Ensuring that these payments are made would address bipartisan concerns about market stability and unaffordable cost-sharing expenses, such as deductibles and copays.
Health Care Options for All Act (S.1201) – This bill would allow people who live in counties with no exchange plans offered to buy plans from the DC Exchange, just like Members of Congress and their staff. It would provide a simple solution to concerns raised in rural counties that don’t have any health insurance plans offered, while reaffirming the premise that American citizens deserve access to the same health insurance made available to Members of Congress.
Individual Health Insurance Marketplace Improvement Act (S.1354) – This bill would create a permanent reinsurance program and stabilize premiums. Reinsurance is a well-established, bipartisan method of ensuring stability in a number of programs, from Medicare Part D to crop insurance.
States Achieve Medicaid Expansion (SAME) Act (S.1545) – This bill would provide each state expanding its Medicaid program with the same levels of Federal matching funds, regardless of when it chooses to expand the program. Medicaid expansion has been supported by many Republican and Democratic governors and state legislators.
Commonsense Competition and Access to Health Insurance Act (S.1546) – This bill would direct state insurance regulators to develop models for states to sell health insurance across state lines. Allowing insurers to sell insurance across state lines is widely supported by members of the Republican caucus and establishing policy to make this process work more effectively will encourage insurers to pursue this opportunity.
Lowering Healthcare Costs:
Addressing Affordability for More Americans Act (S.1529) – This bill would address the subsidy cliff in the ACA for people with incomes higher than 400% of the federal poverty level (FPL), gradually scaling down the subsidy for people with incomes up to 800% FPL. Under current law, an individual earning $45,000 per year would be ineligible for any subsidies to purchase health insurance. Due to bipartisan concerns about premium affordability, it makes sense to gradually scale down for people with higher incomes to ensure middle class Americans can afford quality insurance.
Safe and Affordable Drugs from Canada Act (S.92) – This bipartisan bill would allow for the importation of drugs from licensed Canadian pharmacies for personal use if they have the same active ingredients, route of administration, dosage form, and strength as a prescription drug approved by the FDA.
Affordable and Safe Prescription Drug Importation Act (S.469) – This bill would expand upon bipartisan efforts to allow for the importation of prescription drugs from licensed Canadian sellers and, after two years, the Secretary of Health and Human Services would have the authority to permit importation from other OECD countries
In January, Senator King reintroduced the Medicare Prescription Drug Price Negotiation Act, legislation that would lower prescription drug prices for seniors by allowing Medicare to negotiate the price of prescription drugs. This legislation would help cut costs for nearly 41 million seniors enrolled in Medicare Part D and boost Medicare savings. President Trump has expressed support for negotiating the price of prescription drugs under Medicare dating back to the presidential campaign, and this support has been reaffirmed in statements made as recently as this spring. Since he came to the Senate in 2013, Senator King has also supported the Medicare Drug Savings Act, legislation that would eliminate a special deal for brand-name drug manufacturers that allows them to charge Medicare higher prices for prescription drugs for some seniors and people with disabilities, including about 97,000 Mainers. The bill would require drug companies to provide rebates to the federal government on drugs used by dual eligibles – people eligible for both Medicare and Medicaid, who are predominantly low-income seniors – just as was done for dual eligibles on Medicaid before Medicare Part D was created in 2006.