June 02, 2022

New Third Way Report Details Importance of Van Hollen, Bera Easy Health Enrollment Bill

Report finds legislation would reduce inequities across American health care system

Today, Third Way released a new report detailing the many benefits of Senator Chris Van Hollen’s (D-Md.) and Congressman Ami Bera, M.D. (D-Calif.) Easy Enrollment in Health Care Act, legislation to simplify health care enrollment for Americans by allowing them to begin the process of enrolling in health insurance when they file their federal income tax return. As noted by the report, which can be found here, the lawmakers’ bill will reduce inequities across our health care system by, “increasing insurance rates among people of color; improving health outcomes; decreasing medical debt; increasing accessibility for non-English speakers; and increasing resources for underserved facilities.” 

The report highlights that health insurance is inaccessible and that people often feel that signing up for coverage is “unfamiliar and hard to navigate.” The report finds that the Easy Enrollment in Health Care Act would provide “an effective model of implementing automatic coverage” and notes that the legislation is already based on success seen in Maryland’s Easy Enrollment Program. It concludes, “Finding and enrolling in health insurance can be confusing and difficult. Automatic coverage would remove that barrier for the millions of uninsured people in America.”

“The idea behind this bill is simple but powerful: millions of Americans who already qualify for free or very low-cost health coverage don’t receive it because of barriers they face in enrollment. As this report shows, closing this gap and getting more people enrolled in plans they already qualify for is key to providing better care to families and our communities. This bill is based off of the success we’ve seen in Maryland and would help expand its success both in our state and nationwide. I’ll be looking for every opportunity to pass this common-sense proposal to ensure more Americans are able to access quality health care,” said Senator Van Hollen. 

“As a doctor, I know firsthand that health care is extremely personal and oftentimes very stressful for families to navigate,” said Representative Ami Bera, M.D. “That why it’s crucial that Congress take action to cut burdensome red-tape to make it easier for Americans to sign-up for health care coverage. The Easy Enrollment in Health Care Act would help millions of uninsured Americans automatically enroll in affordable health insurance at the same time they file their federal tax returns. Congress must pass this commonsense legislation for the American people.”

“Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, millions of Americans have gained access to affordable health care, but gaps still remain that keep out some of the most vulnerable communities. Senator Chris Van Hollen’s and Congressman Ami Bera’s bill, The Easy Enrollment in Health Care Act, makes coverage automatic for millions of people who find that getting insured is confusing or overwhelming. It would improve health equity by raising insurance rates among people of color, improving health outcomes, decreasing medical debt, and increasing resources to care for underserved patients,” said Ladan Ahmadi, Deputy Director of Economic Communications & Health Care Policy at Third Way.

More information on the Easy Enrollment in Health Care Act can be found here. Third Way’s full report on the legislation can be found here.