Rep. Lauren Underwood’s (D-Ill.) bill to enhance the Affordable Care Act passed the House in June, and if it passes the Senate, it could lower health insurance premiums for millions of Americans.
The “Patient Protection and Affordable Care Enhancement Act” would expand tax credits, ban junk insurance plans, and lower prescription drug costs.
“I am beaming with pride that my colleagues joined me in the fight to act boldly for families across this country and passed my legislation today,” Underwood said in a statement.
Underwood, a former nurse, has focused on affordable healthcare throughout her political career and said health care costs were too high for many Americans, even before the pandemic.
“Since I stepped foot in the Capitol, I’ve been fighting every day to bring down health care costs. That work has become even more urgent as many of our neighbors have lost their jobs, and with it, their employer-sponsored insurance,” said Underwood.
Americans are spending almost twice what they did in the 1980s on healthcare, according to a study from data company Clever. American households spend approximately $5,000 on health care per year, up from the $2,500 spent in 1984 after adjusting for inflation.
“Illinois families have struggled to afford their health care for decades, which has kept people from accessing the coverage they need and deserve. It is unacceptable in the United States of America—we have to do better,” said Underwood.
Underwood also introduced two additional healthcare bills recently. These bills, if passed, aim to reduce cost barriers to accessing primary and mental health care, substance use disorder treatments and life-saving medications for conditions like diabetes and asthma.