Impact of New Health Insurance Tax Credits Focus of House Testimony by Commonwealth Fund's Sara Collins

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<p>Recent trends in the numbers of Americans who are uninsured or underinsured demonstrate just how critical the Affordable Care Act’s new premium tax credits and other insurance affordability provisions will be to ensuring the health and financial security of working families, Commonwealth Fund vice president Sara R. Collins, Ph.D., <a href="/publications/publication/2011/oct/testimony-premium-tax-credits-under-affordable-care-act-how-will">testified</a> at a congressional hearing held earlier today.</p>
<p>Invited to speak before a health care subcommittee of the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, Collins said the health reform law's array of affordable insurance programs and new consumer protections set to launch in 2014 will substantially reverse these trends. In 2010, the number of uninsured people climbed to 49.9 million, over 13 million more than a decade ago, and the number of underinsured—those who have coverage but face high out-of-pocket costs relative to income—rose to 29 million, from 16 million in 2003. Under the reform law, about 90 percent of legal U.S. residents who are currently uninsured would become eligible for Medicaid or tax credits to pay for private health coverage purchased through the insurance exchanges.</p>
<p>Collins said the erosion in employer coverage caused by job losses, coupled with fewer companies offering health insurance, underscores the need for federal and state policymakers to continue implementing the Affordable Care Act.</p>