Health Care and Employer Groups Announce Principles to Protect Patients and Achieve Universal Coverage

Subtitle
Affordable Coverage Coalition Lays out Path to Expand Coverage

WASHINGTON – Today, a broad coalition of health care and employer groups called for achieving universal health coverage by expanding financial assistance to consumers, bolstering enrollment and outreach efforts, and taking additional steps to protect those who have lost or are at risk of losing employer-based coverage because of the economic downturn caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The Affordable Coverage Coalition encompasses groups representing the nation’s doctors, hospitals, employers and health insurance providers that collectively serve hundreds of millions of American patients, consumers and employers. The joint commitment by such a broad array of interests is a significant milestone on the path toward universal coverage, which has remained an elusive goal within the U.S. healthcare system. 

“While we sometimes disagree on important issues in health care, we are in total agreement that Americans deserve a stable health care market that provides access to high-quality care and affordable coverage for all,” the organizations said in a joint statement of principles. “Achieving universal coverage is particularly critical as we strive to contain the COVID-19 pandemic and work to address long-standing inequities in health care access and outcomes.” 

Kim Keck, president and CEO of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association said, “While the country has made enormous strides in expanding coverage over the past decade, we must close the remaining gaps. Having health coverage means people can get the care they need, when they need it, so they can live healthier, more secure lives.”   

The groups included in the coalition are: America’s Health Insurance Plans, American Academy of Family Physicians, American Benefits Council, American Hospital Association, American Medical Association, Blue Cross Blue Shield Association, Federation of American Hospitals, and U.S. Chamber of Commerce. 

The organizations support the following steps to make health coverage more accessible and affordable: 

  • Protect Americans who have lost or are at risk of losing employer-provided health coverage from becoming uninsured. 
  • Make Affordable Care Act (ACA) premium tax credits and cost-sharing reductions more generous, and expand eligibility for them. 
  • Establish an insurance affordability fund to support any unexpected high costs for caring for those with serious health conditions or to otherwise lower premiums or cost-sharing for ACA marketplace enrollees. 
  • Restore federal funding for outreach and enrollment programs. 
  • Automatically enroll and renew individuals eligible for Medicaid and premium-free ACA marketplace plans. 
  • Provide incentives for additional states to expand Medicaid, in order to close the low-income coverage gap. 

Read the full statement of principles

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Media Contacts
America’s Health Insurance Plans: Kristine Grow, kgrow@ahip.org  
American Academy of Family Physicians: Megan Moriarty, mmoriarty@aafp.org 
American Benefits Council: Jason Hammersla, jhammersla@abcstaff.org 
American Hospital Association: Sean Barry, sbarry@aha.org 
American Medical Association: Joshua Zembik, Joshua.Zembik@ama-assn.org 
Blue Cross Blue Shield Association: Tess Thomson, tess.thomson@bcbsa.com 
Federation of American Hospitals: Sean Brown, sbrown@fah.org 
U.S. Chamber of Commerce: Kathleen Ward, kward@uschamber.com 

About America’s Health Insurance Plans
AHIP is the national association whose members provide coverage for health care and related services to hundreds of millions of Americans every day. Through these offerings, we improve and protect the health and financial security of consumers, families, businesses, communities and the nation. We are committed to market-based solutions and public-private partnerships that improve affordability, value, access, and well-being for consumers. Visit www.ahip.org for more information.

About American Academy of Family Physicians
Founded in 1947, the AAFP represents 136,700 physicians and medical students nationwide. It is the largest medical society devoted solely to primary care. Family physicians conduct approximately one in five office visits -- that’s 192 million visits annually or 48 percent more than the next most visited medical specialty. Today, family physicians provide more care for America’s underserved and rural populations than any other medical specialty. Family medicine’s cornerstone is an ongoing, personal patient-physician relationship focused on integrated care. To learn more about the specialty of family medicine, the AAFP's positions on issues and clinical care, and for downloadable multi-media highlighting family medicine, visit www.aafp.org/media. For information about health care, health conditions and wellness, please visit the AAFP’s award-winning consumer website, www.familydoctor.org.

About American Benefits Council
The American Benefits Council is a public policy organization whose members include over 220 of the world’s largest corporations, as ranked by Fortune and Forbes. Collectively, the Council’s members either directly sponsor or administer health and retirement benefits for virtually all Americans covered by employer-sponsored plans. 

About American Hospital Association
The American Hospital Association (AHA) is a not-for-profit association of health care provider organizations and individuals that are committed to the health improvement of their communities. The AHA advocates on behalf of our nearly 5,000 member hospitals, health systems and other health care organizations, our clinician partners – including more than 270,000 affiliated physicians, 2 million nurses and other caregivers – and the 43,000 health care leaders who belong to our professional membership groups. Founded in 1898, the AHA provides insight and education for health care leaders and is a source of information on health care issues and trends. For more information, visit the AHA website at www.aha.org. 

About American Medical Association 
The American Medical Association is the physicians’ powerful ally in patient care. As the only medical association that convenes 190+ state and specialty medical societies and other critical stakeholders, the AMA represents physicians with a unified voice to all key players in health care. The AMA leverages its strength by removing the obstacles that interfere with patient care, leading the charge to prevent chronic disease and confront public health crises, and, driving the future of medicine to tackle the biggest challenges in health care.

About Federation of American Hospitals
The Federation of American Hospitals (FAH) is the national representative of more than 1,000 tax-paying community hospitals and health systems throughout the United States. Our members include hospitals in urban and rural America, as well as inpatient rehabilitation, psychiatric, long-term acute care and cancer hospitals. These tax-paying hospitals account for nearly 20% of U.S. hospitals and serve their communities proudly while providing high-quality health care to their patients. For more information visit – FAH.org

About U.S. Chamber of Commerce
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is the world’s largest business organization representing companies of all sizes across every sector of the economy. Our members range from the small businesses and local chambers of commerce that line the Main Streets of America to leading industry associations and large corporations. They all share one thing: They count on the U.S. Chamber to be their voice in Washington, across the country, and around the world. For more than 100 years, we have advocated for pro-business policies that help businesses create jobs and grow our economy.

About Blue Cross Blue Shield Association

The Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association is a national federation of 35 independent, community-based and locally operated Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies that collectively provide health care coverage for one in three Americans. BCBSA provides health care insights through The Health of America Report series and the national BCBS Health Indexsm. For more information on BCBSA and its member companies, please visit BCBS.com. We also encourage you to connect with us on Facebook, check out our videos on YouTube and follow us on Twitter.

The Blue Cross Blue Shield Association is an association of 36 independent, locally operated Blue Cross and/or Blue Shield companies.