Health care costs burden too many Granite Staters – Congress has the power to alleviate it
When I was re-elected as mayor of Nashua in 2015, I could have never imagined the roller coaster of events that have since unfolded in our nation. We’ve lived through two intense presidential elections, unrest and transformations in our communities, and a global pandemic. As a public servant tasked with supporting the goals of my city during any season, I’m am committed to ensuring our Nashua residents feel confident in a brighter tomorrow.
As we emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic, a key part of building this confidence is to ensure everyone has access to the resources necessary to live healthy, productive lives. Affordable health care is a major component of lifting up our communities, especially during this period of recovery. Access to affordable care has always been vitally important, but the pandemic thrust this issue into the spotlight when many Americans were forced to confront unexpected health challenges in the last few years. When the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) was passed last year, millions of Americans could breathe a sigh of relief knowing comprehensive financial and health-related relief was on the way.
When I look at the impact of ARPA, one of its most effective parts has undoubtedly been the expansion of health care tax credits. These health insurance subsidies helped thousands of our own neighbors, friends and family members right here in Nashua afford health care for the first time.
These essential health care benefits gained from this federal subsidy program are set to expire at the end of the year. If that happens, almost 23 thousand uninsured people in New Hampshire could lose their chance to purchase affordable health care coverage. Nationally, 14.5 million people would face premium increases at an average of $600 per year.
In March, President Biden said in his State of the Union address that “the American Rescue Plan is helping millions of families on Affordable Care Act plans save $2,400 a year on their health care premiums.” He called for the need “make those savings permanent.” We cannot forget this call to action. We are now almost in July and no permanent solution has been reached.
Congress must make the subsidies permanent, or we risk forcing thousands of Granite Staters out of the insurance marketplace altogether — and into a position where they can no longer afford the care they need. Senators Maggie Hassan and Jeanne Shaheen can help lead the march towards a solution for permanent subsidies and work with their congressional colleagues to get this across the finish line before Congress breaks for its August recess.
As mayor of Nashua, my job is to ensure our city is set up for success and that our communities have strong foundations to prosper. This means that each and every individual has the ability to take care of their health and well-being. With a permanent solution for health care subsidies, we can make that a reality for thousands more in our state for decades to come.
Jim Donchess is mayor of Nashua.