Our STATE LEGISLATIVE PRIORITIES reflect our work to protect and promote access to comprehensive, quality, affordable healthcare for all.
In 2023, we led the successful effort to codify ACA consumer protections in state law and supported the successful campaign to enact the Equality in Abortion Coverage Act. Through our advocacy we strive to achieve policies that promote health care as a right, with quality, access, affordability, and equity at the forefront. Our 2023 state policy platform included the following:
PASSED√ Safeguard access to meaningful coverage by codifying the ACA’s consumer protections in state law:
Despite the ACA again being upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court in 2021, individual components of the ACA remain at risk. The most recent attack in the federal courts is the September 2022 ruling by a Texas federal court judge declaring the ACA requirement for preventive services without cost sharing invalid[i].
The bill will protect the quality of health coverage available to Rhode Islanders should the federal government or judiciary limit, repeal, or replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA). It would codify the basic protections for health care consumers that are part of the ACA, including the requirements that individual health insurers, large group health insurers, and small group health insurers:
- Maintain coverage for the 10 categories of essential health benefits currently protected by the ACA.
- Maintain the current prohibition on pre-existing condition exclusions. (Guaranteed issue and renewability)
- Maintain no cost-sharing for preventative services .
- Maintain the prohibition of annual or lifetime caps on coverage.
We also support the following proposals to improve healthcare equity, access to comprehensive care, coverage affordability, and state investments in the care economy:
Invest in Medicaid to close gaps and improve access & equity:
- Enact continuous coverage for young children from birth through age 5. Continuous coverage in the early years is critical for children’s healthy development and helps to address racial disparities.
- √ Improve patient access to behavioral health, primary care and long-term care services by investing Medicaid funds to ensure an adequate, competent, and diverse workforce.
- Improve the financial stability of low-income seniors and people with disabilities by raising the income eligibility for the state’s Medicare Savings Programs and eliminating the asset test.
- √ Protect access to coverage for Medicare-Medicaid dual eligible Rhode Islanders by fully funding the ombuds program.
Improve patient access to behavioral health services by addressing disparities in reimbursement rates paid by commercial insurers.
Ensure equitable access to reproductive healthcare:
- √ Enact the Equality in Abortion Coverage Act: (S32/H5006)
- Mandate coverage for FDA-approved contraceptive drugs, devices and other products by commercial and Medicaid payers.
Improve affordability and enrollment in coverage:
- √ Reduce patient co-pays for specialty drugs.
- √ Enact ‘Easy Enrollment’ in state marketplace (HSRI)
The Protect Our Healthcare Coalition also supports initiatives to reduce HEALTH DISPARITIES – most specifically we must:
- Expand access to safe, affordable housing & address the homeless crisis: Research demonstrates that safe affordable homes are critical to improving health outcomes and an important component in managing health risk.
- Improve access to healthy foods: Enact the Healthy School Meals for All Act (S /H5141) proposal to support student well-being, reduce administrative costs, increase investment in food service programs, eliminate unpaid meal debt, remove stigma from the lunchroom, and increase equity in our schools.
- Invest in healthy homes: Enact the Lead Poisoning Prevention Act (S2/H5007) Lead poisoning is a serious health issue. Investment in cleaner, safer drinking water via lead pipe replacement — including providing free replacement in low-income neighborhoods with more significant populations of young children is needed to ensure a healthy start for all children.
Finally, the Protect Our Healthcare Coalition believes our state must ensure the top 1% of earners contribute their fair share towards much-needed revenue for Rhode Island to help address disparities in access to childcare, quality education, and public transit for residents.