June 15, 2017 – Today, the House passed H.R. 2579, the Broader Options for Americans Act, legislation Health Subcommittee Chairman (Ohio Congressman) Pat Tiberi introduced on May 19, 2017. The Broader Options for Americans Act expands options for certain Americans who have lost their jobs by allowing them to access the American Health Care Act’s tax credits. It also ensures that Americans in similar circumstances who work at churches or other houses of worship can access these tax credits.
Before passage, Congressman Pat Tiberi delivered the following remarks:
“Mr. Speaker, I too want to add my thoughts and prayers for our colleague and friend, Congressman Steve Scalise, and the victims of yesterday’s shooting. May God be with them during this time.
“Mr. Speaker, my bill, the Broader Options for Americans Act is before us today. We’ve all heard of COBRA continuation coverage, which allows someone with group health insurance who experiences a qualifying life event to keep their job-based coverage— and their plan’s network of providers— for a certain amount of time. Currently, consumers with COBRA coverage— who could face a cost up to 102 percent of plan costs— are not eligible for Obamacare’s federal subsidies.
“My bill allows individuals who pay for the full cost of such continuation coverage to qualify for the tax credit established under the American Health Care Act. This allows those consumers, including clergy, church lay workers and their dependents who are experiencing similar circumstances and who get their coverage through church plans, and who’ve been affected by sudden life changes, to receive assistance to pay for their unsubsidized health premiums.
“This bill represents another step forward in our continuing work to help Americans access more options for true patient-centered care.
“Mr. Speaker, this hits close to home for me. As a high school student, my dad lost his job of 25 years… We as a family lost our health care and went into COBRA coverage. This is a solution that impacts people across America. I urge my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to pass this legislation today.
“Thank you, Mr. Speaker, and I yield back and reserve the balance of my time.”