While the US House Republicans are working to undermine the gains of the Affordable Care Act, and impact Massachusetts in the process, members of the Massachusetts congressional delegation are using the lessons of our implementation of chapter 58 to strengthen health reform.
Led by Congressman Ed Markey, these members sent a letter (pdf) last week calling for funding of state consumer assistance programs, a critical part of health reform. The letter was signed by 14 members of Congress, including Massachusetts Representatives Capuano, Frank, Lynch, McGovern, Neal, Tierney and Tsongas in addition to Markey.
In his statement, Congressman Markey cites the role HCFA’s Helpline is playing in guiding people through the complications of health insurance. Markey emphasizes the need for on the ground assistance:
“Decisions about health care are some of the most challenging and complex decisions Americans face,” said Rep. Markey. “Consumer Assistance Programs provide families a trusted tour guide and an advocate, helping them navigate the maze of health insurance options and cut through the red tape. Continued federal support for these programs is vital to successful implementation of the new healthcare law.”
This national Consumer Assistance Program builds on the Commonwealth’s successful experience with community outreach and enrollment activities, funded through chapter 58. The grantees were able to provide the vital help people need to understand how to enroll and use their insurance. We urge Congress to include funding for the program in the 2012 budget.