Opinion: Make health care tax credits permanent – The Cincinnati Enquirer

Opinion: Make health care tax credits permanent – The Cincinnati Enquirer

Nothing keeps Ohioans up at night like the cost of health care. With the rising cost of food, rent and child care, too many families are left worrying about how to pay the bills and make ends meet. Half of Americans worry about keeping up with health care costs, not only because it drains our bank accounts, but because we literally can’t live without it.
Fortunately, the American Rescue Plan, signed by President Joe Biden last year, was historic legislation that drove down health costs at a time when access to quality care had never been more vital. In addition to making critical investments to fight the pandemic, the American Rescue Plan made health care premiums more affordable than ever.
These tax credits have been a crucial lifeline for families during the pandemic, and now is the time to make them permanent.
Tens of thousands of Ohioans are looking for Congress to act with urgency and lock in these lower health care costs before they expire at the end of 2022. A new report from Protect Our Care Ohio lays out the dire consequences if Congress fails to act – including that an estimated 63,000 Ohioans could lose their health coverage.
The American Rescue Plan expanded upon the Affordable Care Act by guaranteeing coverage that costs less than 8.5% of income. Millions of enrollees were able to enroll in a quality plan for $10 or less, with families saving an average of $2,400 on their annual premiums. The law eliminated premiums entirely for those earning up to $20,000 per year and those receiving unemployment insurance in 2021.
For many Ohio families, this meant saving hundreds of dollars on monthly premium costs, providing more breathing room to pay for housing, kids’ school supplies and so much more. About 260,000 Ohioans enrolled in health coverage on the ACA marketplaces in 2022 – an all-time high. For so many, this access to care means the peace of mind knowing that a medical emergency will not result in bankruptcy.
While Republicans like Congressman Steve Chabot wasted time playing political games and voting against the bill, Democrats, including every Democrat in Ohio’s congressional delegation, stepped up to do their jobs – passing the American Rescue Plan and meeting the moment with meaningful relief. Now is the time to step up again and do what is right for Ohioans: make these premium tax credits a permanent part of the ACA and help lower the cost of health care.
President Biden and Democrats in Congress are fighting to make the premium tax credits and these health care savings for families permanent. Along with measures to lower prescription drug prices, improve health benefits for seniors and expand coverage, their plan will lower the cost of living for Ohioans from all walks of life. When passed, these proposals will level the playing field for working families and reduce stark racial inequities in health care.
In the wealthiest nation on Earth, no one should have to choose between putting food on the table and affording the health care they need to survive. It is essential that Congress makes these gains permanent to take one step closer to making health care a right for every American.
Ozie Davis is a healthcare advocate and community activist from the Avondale neighborhood in Cincinnati.

source


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.