Washington, DC — On July 30, 2021, United States of Care submitted to the House Committee on Energy and Commerce and the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions policy recommendations for a federal public health insurance option. In May, as a first step towards developing federal legislation in this area, the committees issued a Request For Information to stakeholders who could advise on this policy.
According to USofCare’s public opinion research, costs are people’s foremost concern about the health care system. The survey found that 42% have foregone health insurance in the past, and 41% of those under 30 have opted not to seek medical treatment last year. Small businesses face the same crisis as they struggle to provide affordable insurance to their employees.
Affordability has emerged as an especially critical issue amid the COVID-19 pandemic, when people have lost both their jobs and their health care — while contract and gig workers remain entirely on their own to find coverage.
Since its founding nearly four years ago, USofCare has worked to enact public options at the state level. Recognizing the promise that a federal public health insurance option carries, the recommendations which the organization submits today are informed by expertise gained through groundbreaking state efforts for affordable and dependable health care.
Natalie Davis, co-founder and acting Executive Director of United States of Care, said:
“United States of Care is pleased to offer our suggestions to Chairwoman Murray and Chairman Pallone on how to structure a federal public health insurance option. When we talk to people across the country, cost is the number one concern. Our recommendations are directly aimed at improving the affordability, accessibility, dependability, and quality of the nation’s health care system.
Building on our campaigns with partners and advocates across the country, USofCare’s recommendations center on the needs we’ve heard directly from people and the lessons we’ve learned through our extensive work to pass major affordability laws in states.”
As evidence of the growing momentum for public health insurance options, United States of Care pointed to recent milestone affordability laws in Colorado and Nevada. Its polling demonstrates further momentum, as almost 70% of voters nationwide support a public health insurance option, including 54% of Republicans and 68% independents.
Additionally, USofCare highlighted the urgent need and opportunity to continue progress on broadening health care access and affordability. Their research further shows that 84% of people agree that we must build a better and more equitable system in the wake of the pandemic.
“It’s clear that we can’t go back to the system that, even before the pandemic, wasn’t working for everyone. The lessons and advice we submit today can help build a better system that works for more people and can bring them more certainty that they can afford quality care — a crucial step as we look to round the corner on the pandemic.”