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Hassan and Shaheen working to ensure affordable health coverage is available

By: Cindy Rosenwald | Published: 9/25/2021 in The Nashua Telegraph

As a state senator and throughout my career in public service, improving health care here in New Hampshire has always been a top priority. Today, with COVID-19 still threatening public health and our economy, it is more important than ever to make sure our families have access to health care.

Since Sens. Jeanne Shaheen and Maggie Hassan helped pass the American Rescue Plan Act in March, we’ve had access to a remarkable program that subsidizes the cost of care for thousands of families across the state. This is due in part to Shaheen’s leadership amid negotiations where she pushed to include portions of her bill, the “Improving Health Insurance Affordability Act”, which temporarily enhances the Affordable Care Act’s premium tax credits. This federal program has been a lifesaver for many in uncertain times, but unfortunately, it will soon expire unless congressional Republicans follow the lead of Senators Shaheen and Hassan and work to make these critical health insurance subsidies permanent.

What Granite Staters know is that these subsidies work. Since legislation was passed that expanded this federal relief, almost 23,000 uninsured residents are now eligible for this financial help to pay for premiums. By lowering the cost of coverage for those still struggling because of the pandemic, thousands of families across the state – and 12 million Americans across the country – now have access to vital care. During the worst public health crisis in more than a century, these subsidies are essential for our state’s recovery.

Despite these gains in affordable, accessible care for many in our state, New Hampshire residents will soon lose these expanded subsidies unless Congress extends them. According to HHS, failing to extend these subsidies could raise premiums by around $600 a year. For some residents, the costs could be even higher. A recent study by AHIP found that a 46-year-old earning about $42,000 a year could see their premiums increase by $109 a month. A 55-year-old couple earning just over $70,000 a year could see their monthly premiums shoot up by $761 – a staggering sum for any New Hampshire family.

Without access to these subsidies, many families may not be able to afford quality coverage. As deadly coronavirus variants continue to spread across our communities, now would be the worst time to make it more difficult to access affordable health care.

Access to affordable care is a critical need. Our state’s leaders in Washington, Senators Hassan and Shaheen, have always been health care champions and thankfully they are taking the lead to extend these vital insurance subsidies for Granite Staters.

As Congress writes its budget this fall, I am grateful that Senators Shaheen and Hassan will continue working to keep health care affordable and accessible here in New Hampshire by protecting these lifesaving subsidies. I urge other lawmakers in Congress to follow Shaheen and Hassan’s lead to help extend these critical provisions.

Cindy Rosenwald is a state senator representing New Hampshire’s 13th District. Rosenwald serves on the Senate Ways and Means and Finance committees. She has served in the Senate since 2018.

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