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Tester bill looks to cap health insurance premiums based on income

In an effort to lower the cost of health care, Sen. Jon Tester on Wednesday sponsored legislation that would give Montanans facing rising premiums a tax credit under certain scenarios.

As proposed, the Addressing Affordability for More Americans Act  would provide premium tax credits to working Montanans who make too much money to qualify for existing tax credits, but still can’t afford health insurance.

Tester sad the bill is geared toward those who buy health insurance in the individual marketplace and are facing rising premiums due to what he labeled “partisan efforts to undermine the current health care system.”

President Donald Trump this week pledged to “let Obamacare fail” after his party failed to pass legislation in both the U.S. House and Senate, and failed again to muster the votes needed for a full repeal.

“I have held health care town hall meetings across the state and I keep hearing from folks who are glad they finally have access to life-saving health care, but they are struggling to afford their premiums,” Tester said.  “Rather than force a bill through Congress that doubles premiums, let’s pass legislation that will immediately lower the out-of-pocket health care costs for hardworking families.”

Tester said the Affordable Care Act created a tax credit for individuals who earn up to $48,000 annually.  Tester’s bill would increase that threshold so people earning up to $96,500 could qualify for tax credits to help pay for health insurance.

Under the current structure, people making up to $48,000 a year pay no more than 9.5 percent of their annual income towards health insurance premiums. Those making up to $96,500 would pay no more than 15 percent of their income toward premiums.

“These premium tax credits will guarantee that individuals do not pay more than a certain percentage of their income for health insurance premiums.”