February 18, 2022
Education and Labor Subcommittee hearing on pathways to affordable, universal health coverage
On February 17, the House Education and Labor Subcommittee on Health, Employment, Labor, and Pensions held a hearing entitled, "Exploring Pathways to Affordable, Universal Health Coverage." Democrats on the committee, along with Democratic witnesses, used the hearing to express concern with increased health care spending coupled with the underperformance of the health care system in comparison to lower-spending peer countries. They touted several options for reducing the cost of care and enhancing access to affordable coverage, such as extending enhanced Affordable Care Act (ACA) subsidies advanced during the pandemic, bolstering ACA protections around non-comprehensive coverage, and making other changes such as fixing the so-called "family glitch." Several members and witnesses expressed support for establishing a public option and/or moving to a single-payer, "Medicare for All" system, which they said could reduce waste and costs while increasing access to quality health care for all.
The Republican witness, Brian Blase, echoed concern with high prices but said they are driven by government involvement, excessive third-party payments, and consolidated health care markets. He also expressed support for policies advanced by the previous administration, including expanded coverage through Association Health Plans (AHPs), individual coverage health reimbursement arrangements (ICHRAs), price transparency and other policies aimed at enhancing options for employers and consumers without new federal spending. Republicans on the committee echoed support for these policies and condemned the inflationary nature of expanded subsidies and other federal government spending, while expressing support for employer-provided coverage.
More information is available here.
Additional information is also available in the attached Tax Alert.
Education and Labor hearing on universal health coverage