Veasey Introduces Bill to Ease ACA Exemption Process for Americans in Medicaid Gap
Washington, D.C. — On September 28, 2016, Congressman Marc Veasey, TX-33, introduced H.R. 6215, the Medicaid Gap Relief Act, to automatically exempt families under the federal poverty level from paying a tax penalty for failure to have qualifying health coverage. As of 2016, 19 states have blocked Medicaid expansion that would benefit millions of low-income families in their quest to undermine the President’s signature achievement.
H.R. 6215, the Medicaid Gap Relief Act, would remove burdensome steps for individuals applying for a tax hardship exemption under the ACA by automatically exempting families under the federal poverty level. Currently, families must prove a “hardship,” which is defined as a life situation that keeps one from obtaining health insurance, in order to receive an exemption. If an individual qualifies, they do not have to pay the monthly penalty for not holding qualifying health coverage. This bill ensures that the neediest families in the country are not penalized due to their states’ continual refusal to expand Medicaid coverage.
“One of the greatest opportunities for coverage provided by the Affordable Care Act is the expansion of Medicaid to promote greater equity in healthcare,” said Congressman Veasey. “Texas refused to expand and still has one of the most restrictive Medicaid programs in the country. Until we get states like Texas to expand their Medicaid programs, this bill will make it easier for hard-working families to receive much needed financial relief on their taxes.”
A recent study by the U.S. Census Bureau found that Texas still has over 4.5 million Americans outside the reach of affordable health care and continues to have limited options for coverage. In addition, approximately 766,000 Texans will not be eligible for federal subsidies or Medicaid due to the state’s interest in scoring political points rather than ensuring the health of the communities they represent.