May 22, 2020

Van Hollen, Senate Democrats Release Plan to Expand Health Care Coverage & Affordability During COVID-19

U.S. Senators Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and Tina Smith (D-MN) alongside Senate Finance Committee Ranking Member Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee Ranking Member Patty Murray (D-WA), today released a Senate Democratic plan to expand health care coverage and affordability during the COVID-19 pandemic. In a white paper, the senators outline a series of common sense legislative priorities that the Senate should take up immediately, including expanding premium support through subsidies and tax credits, incentivizing Medicaid expansion in hold-out states, and a special open enrollment period. Their proposal also calls for all COVID-19 treatment costs to be covered, including for the uninsured. 

A brief overview of the policies included in the proposal:

  • Cover all costs for COVID-19 treatment, including for the uninsured;
  • Deliver subsidies for the cost of COBRA premiums for the newly unemployed;
  • Expand and increase access to premium tax credits that help families afford monthly premiums;
  • Incentivize Medicaid expansion in remaining states that have not yet expanded;
  • Establish a federal special enrollment period;
  • Ban the sale of junk plans;  
  • Restore funding for marketplace outreach and enrollment support

The proposal is also supported by Senators Mark Warner (D-VA), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Michael Bennet (D-CO), Tom Carper (D-DE), Richard J. Durbin (D-IL), Maggie Hassan (D-NH), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-NY), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Ben Cardin (D-MD), Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Tim Kaine (D-VA), Jack Reed (D-RI), Jacky Rosen (D-NV), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Kamala Harris (D-CA), Robert Menendez (D-NJ), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Bob Casey (D-PA), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), Martin Heinrich (D-NM), Chris Coons (D-DE), Doug Jones (D-AL), Tom Udall (D-NM) and Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV).

The proposal can be read in full here.