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Record-Bee:Thompson fights to keep state exchange

Mar 8, 2017
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WASHINGTON, D.C. >> Rep. Mike Thompson (CA-05) introduced an amendment at the Committee on Ways and Means to allow states to keep their existing healthcare system rather than repeal it. It would provide states the option to retain their existing marketplaces, benefit protections, and cost sharing and premium subsidies under the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

Republicans rejected the proposal.

“If the Republicans want to insist their plan will give Americans more choices, then they should allow them the choice to keep the healthcare and tax credits they already have,” said Thompson. “In California, our state exchange has enrolled nearly 1.5 million people and saved consumers more than $300 million in premiums.”

Thompson pointed out that the exchange is working well — “in sharp contrast to the estimates we’ve seen about the Republicans’ bill” — and that repealing would cause families to lose their healthcare, devastate the job market, and could force steep hikes in many premiums.

“I am disappointed that Republicans — despite promises about choice, flexibility, and state’s rights — would not give states the option to keep the stable, healthy marketplaces they have already built,” he said.

In his written testimony to the Committee, Peter V. Lee, Executive Director of Covered California, said, “the Affordable Care Act is working and we at Covered California have built a sustainable and competitive marketplace. In addition to our 1.4 million consumers, approximately 900,000 Californians who do not get subsidies benefit from the lower rates, protections and the more consumer-centric competitive marketplace that we foster.”

“The ACA and Medicaid program are essential to the mission of the community health centers, and by extension, the health of local communities. They ensure access to care for the vulnerable people and communities we serve,” said Redwood Community Health Coalition (RCHC). RCHC is a coalition of 17 community health centers and clinics in Marin, Sonoma, Napa, and Yolo Counties, including Ole Health, Sonoma Valley Community Health Center, and Santa Rosa Community Health Centers.