Whitmer pens letter to Congress with fellow governors to lower premiums federally
Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer—along with 13 other state governors—sent a letter to congressional leadership urging them to make advanced premium tax credits (APTCs) permanent federally last month. The American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) expanded and enhanced APTCs and is set to expire at the end of this current plan year.
According to the U.S Department of Health and Human Services, of the 270,000 Michiganders this affects, 63,000 would lose individual coverage and become uninsured upon expiration of enhanced APTCs. Nationwide, 3.4 million would lose coverage upon expiration.
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“Right now, working families in Michigan and across the country are facing rising costs on groceries, gas, and other everyday expenses,” Whitmer said. “That’s why I joined my fellow governors to urge congressional leaders to make the advanced premium tax credits in the American Rescue Plan permanent.
Getting this done will lower costs and protect access to healthcare coverage for over 270,000 Michiganders. I am focused on growing our economy, creating good-paying jobs, and lowering costs for working families, and I urge congressional leaders to come together and get this done so we can protect healthcare coverage and lower costs for millions of Americans.”
Since APRA expanded APTCs, it has lowered costs for consumers in Michigan and across the country. According to a Michigan press release, families around the country saved an average of $200 a month in premiums, with 4 out of 5 consumers eligible to obtain a plan for $10 or less.
Upon the expiration of the APTC expansion, the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities estimated that a premium increase for a 60-year-old couple making $75,000 a year would be nearly $11,000. A family of 4 making $120,000 a year would see a premium increase of nearly $3,000.
“Unfortunately, the ARP-expanded subsidy eligibility is set to expire at the end of the current plan year, leaving consumers exposed to dramatic premium increases, and threatening the progress we have made,” the letter said. “As inflation continues to put a strain on consumers’ budgets, we are concerned that many people will choose to reduce health insurance coverage or even go without coverage if Congress fails to act.”
According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, the average monthly premium in Michigan would increase by 39%, or $66. With the APTCs, Michiganders spent an average of $170 a month on premiums, and without APTCs, they would pay on average $236 a month.
The 14 governors signed onto this letter urging Congress to pass legislation to make APTCs permanent.
“Healthcare is a right—not a privilege,” the letter said. “The [ARPA] greatly improved health insurance affordability to ensure lifesaving healthcare is accessible to all Americans. We urge you to take action immediately to make the [ARPA] expanded subsidies permanent to prevent a disastrous erosion of health insurance coverage.”