06.17.14

U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin Joins Colleagues in Introducing New Measure to Help Families Access Affordable Health Coverage

“Family Coverage Act” Would Improve Access to Tax Credits for Families in Wisconsin and Across the Country

Washington D.C. – U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin has joined her colleagues in support of the Family Coverage Act, a measure that will help families in Wisconsin and across the country access the tax credits in the Affordable Care Act (ACA) to ensure they get the most affordable coverage possible.

The legislation, introduced by Senator Al Franken (D-Minn.), would clarify ACA rules so that families whose employers offer them health coverage that is not affordable to their family can access tax credits to help buy affordable health coverage.

“The Family Coverage Act will ensure more Wisconsin families have access to affordable health care coverage,” said Senator Baldwin. “I’m proud to support commonsense legislation to ensure that the Affordable Care Act works the way Congress intended by guaranteeing that working families can access the tax credits they deserve.”

Under the ACA, large employers must offer comprehensive, affordable coverage to employees. If the employee’s share of premiums costs less than 9.5 percent of family income, the coverage is deemed "affordable" and the employee is ineligible for tax credits to help buy health coverage on the health insurance marketplace. However, the IRS interpreted the law in such a way that health insurance is considered "affordable" if the employee's share of premiums for individual coverage – rather than the more expensive family coverage – is under 9.5 percent of family income. The result is that many middle-class families miss out on tax credits that would make their entire family coverage affordable. Without a change, up to 460,000 children could be left uncovered.

The Family Coverage Act is supported by groups in Wisconsin and across the country, including the Wisconsin Primary Health Care Association, the Wisconsin Council on Children and Families, Citizen Action of Wisconsin, the Wisconsin Alliance for Women's Health, Small Business Majority, American Academy of Pediatrics, Children’s Defense Fund, Children's Dental Health Project, Community Catalyst, Consumers Union, March of Dimes, National Health Law Program, National Immigration Law Center, First Focus Campaign for Children, and the Children’s Hospital Association.

In addition to Senator Baldwin, the Family Coverage Act is co-sponsored by Senators Tim Kaine (D-Va.), Heidi Heitkamp (D-N. Dak.), Angus King (I-Maine), Martin Heinrich (D-N. Mex.), Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Mark Udall (D-Colo.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Michael Bennet (D-Colo.), Kay Hagan (D-N.C.), Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii), Jeanne Shaheen (D-N. H.), Tom Udall (D-N. Mex.), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Mark Begich (D-Alaska), and Christopher Coons (D-Del.).

More information about the bill can be found here.