Our nation is on the verge of another health care crisis, and self-employed Arizonans like me will pay the price if Congress doesn’t take steps to protect our access to affordable care and coverage.
I was one of the thousands of Arizonans who saved on their premiums this year thanks to President Biden’s American Rescue Plan. Our low monthly premium cost gives us an extra financial cushion that we use to save for our future.
I know I’m not alone: A record number of Americans signed up for marketplace coverage last year, and 167,009 Arizonans like me saved hundreds of dollars on their premiums. From small business owners to farmers, the average family saved $2,400 a year on their health care.
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For the millions of us who saved so significantly on our health insurance, the American Rescue Plan and its provisions were a godsend. But, unfortunately, the expanded tax credits that powered those savings will expire at the end of the year, and millions of Americans like me could see their premiums increase in 2023.
In several states, including Arizona, 2023 premium amounts will be made public this month. Open enrollment for 2023 begins on November 1, 2022 —just one week before Election Day. This means that news of premium increases will be front and center just as Americans begin casting their midterm ballots.
President Biden and the Democrats like Congressman Ruben Gallego have been working tirelessly to keep premiums low and further reduce the cost of health care. Last November, House Democrats voted to extend the health care premium reductions in the American Rescue Plan to prevent our premiums from skyrocketing at the end of this year. Now, it is up to Senate Democrats to get on board and extend the premium tax credits for working families. If the Senate Democrats fail to get the bill passed and onto President Biden’s desk for signature, nine million Americans will face increased health care costs and three million people will lose coverage altogether.
The American Rescue Plan helped give millions of American families peace of mind at a time when we needed it most. We cannot go backwards. Its provisions like the expanded tax credits have saved us hundreds of dollars a month. For many families, this has not only helped us make ends meet during the pandemic, but it’s allowed us to access essential care for the first time in years.
Lawmakers cannot let the health care premium reductions in the American Rescue Plan expire. If they do, millions of Americans will see dramatic increases in their 2023 health insurance premiums, and many will no longer be able to afford insurance at all. But the good news is that this is entirely preventable. Senate Democrats must act now to ensure families can continue to afford the health care they need.
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