July 16, 2013

United States House of Representatives

Washington, D.C. 20515

Dear Representative:

On behalf of the millions of members and supporters of the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare, I urge you to vote against H.R. 2668 and any legislation that would delay the individual responsibility provision to obtain health insurance. The individual requirement is a critical component of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Without it, the intent of the law — to offer affordable coverage to the uninsured — would be undermined.

This differs from the Administration’s decision to delay for one year the requirement for large employers to offer employee health insurance or pay a penalty, made to accommodate the business community’s request for additional time to prepare for the new system. Currently, the majority of employers already provide health insurance to recruit and retain employees, and the employer delay will not change this. For large employers that do not offer health coverage or plan to delay providing coverage, such as some retail and restaurant chains, their employees will be able to purchase a health plan in one of the subsidized marketplaces. Because federal subsidies will be available to those with low-to-moderate incomes to purchase insurance through the exchanges, some employees may end up with less expensive and more robust health plans from the exchanges than they would have received from their employers.

In contrast, delaying the individual requirement to purchase health insurance will undercut the ability of the ACA marketplace exchanges to offer affordable health coverage. Requiring individuals to purchase health insurance is necessary because it spreads health risks across the entire population, thus healthier and/or younger individuals would help keep overall expenditures lower. Younger enrollees benefit from risk sharing between generations as they age and require more health care.

According to a recent Kaiser Family Foundation poll, more than seven in ten young adults stated that it is very important for them to have health insurance. However, the high cost of insurance was the biggest barrier for purchasing insurance. The same poll found that about half of those under age 65 believe that they or household members have a pre-existing condition, and a quarter of them were denied health insurance or paid higher premiums because of it. In order to reverse these wrongs, the individual insurance requirement is needed to create a health system that will put affordable coverage in reach of young and old alike.

We support the Affordable Care Act, and urge you to vote against H.R. 2668 and any legislation that would delay the individual responsibility requirement. Millions of American are counting on it and need affordable health coverage as soon possible.


Max Richtman
President and CEO