InsiderNJ: Helping Seniors Afford Health Care Act Approved by Key Committee, Headed to House Floor

Originally published on InsiderNJ

WASHINGTON, DC – Yesterday, the House Energy and Commerce Committee voted to pass the Helping Seniors Afford Health Care Act, H.R. 4671. The bill will now go to the full House for final passage.

The bill, introduced by Congressman Andy Kim (NJ-03), Congressman Dwight Evans (PA-03) and Congresswoman Lisa Blunt Rochester (DE-AL), would increase access to affordable health care for senior citizens.

“Lowering the cost of health care for seniors is a top priority for me and people in Burlington and Ocean Counties,” said Congressman Kim. “I want to thank Chairman Pallone for bringing this bill before his committee, and the committee members for their support. I look forward to seeing that same support when this bill comes to the House Floor and hope our colleagues in the Senate see the same urgency for action that we have undertaken in the House.”

“Seniors who would qualify for the Medicare Savings Program under our bill could save hundreds of dollars per year. This would make a positive difference for many seniors who struggle to make ends meet on fixed incomes,” said Congressman Evans, a member of the House Ways and Means Committee, which oversees much of Medicare. “Andy Kim is once again showing why he’s one of the hardest-working new members of Congress, and I’m pleased to partner again with Congresswoman Blunt Rochester on an important bill that would benefit many of our constituents.”

“I was proud to lead the consideration of H.R. 4671 in today’s Energy & Commerce Committee markup. I’d like thank Chairman Pallone for advancing this critical measure through committee along with Reps. Kim & Evans for their work on the bill,” said Congresswoman Blunt Rochester. “We are now one step closer to making crucial expansions to the Medicare Savings Program so millions of seniors can finally afford the quality health care provided by Medicare while putting more money back in the pockets of many more. I look forward to the bill’s consideration before the full House of Representatives.”

The Helping Seniors Afford Health Care Act would expand access to affordable care by increasing the income eligibility levels for Medicare recipients to qualify for the Medicare Savings Program. The Medicare Savings Program provides financial assistance to help seniors who qualify based on income level, pay for Medicare premiums, copayments, prescription drug costs and other health expenses.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, there are currently more than 6.8 million Americans with Medicare coverage that fall within the current income requirements for the Medicare Savings Program. By increasing income eligibility, the bill would make the Medicare Savings Program available to an additional 4.6 million people, or a 68 percent growth in the number of people who would see access to health care savings.

The bill would also provide funding for states to cover the cost of additional seniors added to the program, as well as grants to help states conduct outreach to inform seniors about their eligibility of this program.