A reason to feel hope

March 10, 2021
Claire Murchison

DENVER—Today, Congress passed the American Rescue Plan, a relief bill containing critical health provisions that Health Care Voices founder and cancer survivor Laura Packard is thankful for, saying it comes not a moment too soon for Americans struggling to stay afloat amid COVID-19.

For millions, passage of the American Rescue Plan provides a reason to feel hope. Among the litany of health care provisions the rescue plan contains, Laura anticipates that the accelerated national vaccination program, expansion of tax credits for people using the Affordable Care Act exchanges for their health insurance, coverage for people who lost health insurance through losing their jobs, and new fiscal incentives for states to adopt Medicaid expansion to some of their most struggling residents, will be the most effective in mitigating COVID-19 and improving access to care for many.

“By speeding up vaccinations, many more of us will be able to get them sooner, including cancer survivors like me. By expanding health care provisions, millions priced out of health insurance today can gain the coverage they need. Thank you to the members of Congress who listened and took action, and shame on those who did not.” said Health Care Voices founder Laura Packard.

While the American Rescue Plan is a necessary step towards recovery, the legislation isn’t a cure-all. We still need to work to lower the amount Americans pay for their health care every day, from the high cost of prescription drugs to soaring deductibles and copays. We must pass a public option—a promise then-candidate Joe Biden made Laura during the 2020 DNC—to allow for competition in insurance marketplaces, force big insurers to address the high cost of care today, and make sure everyone has access to health care as a human right.

“After nearly a year of living through this crisis, we finally have action. Although many Americans, like my stepfather, are no longer with us, the plan will bring desperately-needed relief to everyone,” said Health Care Voices founder Laura Packard.

Despite federal urging that Americans protect their health, 12 states still have yet to adopt the ACA provision to expand Medicaid. Due to the reticence of lawmakers in AL, FL, GA, KS, MS, NC, SC, SD, TN, TX, WI, and WY, about four million adults await quality health coverage as their states delay Medicaid expansion.

“They [legislators in the 12 states] need to take immediate action. In the midst of a pandemic, health care for everyone is more important than ever. There’s no excuse to turn away the generous federal subsidies, and cover more of their citizens with the care they need. It’s unacceptable that four million Americans could be covered with comprehensive health care through Medicaid expansion today, but their own representatives refuse to act,” said Health Care Voices founder Laura Packard.

Founded after the health care fights of 2017, Health Care Voices is an independent grassroots group of health care advocates organizing adults with serious medical conditions for affordable comprehensive health care, fighting the high cost of prescription drugs, and making our health care system work better for all. If you’re interested in interviewing Health Care Voices Founder Laura Packard, please reach out to claire@firesidecampaigns.com.