Talking Points: Cost Caps is How Democrats Win on Health Care

Talking Points: Cost Caps is How Democrats Win on Health Care

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Poll after poll has shown that cutting health care costs remains voters’ #1 priority, after COVID-19 relief. But it’s not just the polls—President Biden and down-ballot Democrats ran (and won) on the promise to lower health care costs for all Americans.

Lowering health care costs is what Democrats are going to do. The question is how are they going to do it? And just as importantly, how are they going to do it in a way that is understandable to Americans and withstands attacks from opponents.

Here’s how the ACA subsidies have generally been described in the press so far: Democrats will increase marketplace subsidies so that no one getting exchange plans and has income less than 400% of poverty pays more than 8.5% for insurance premiums.

For most people this is confusing gibberish. Here’s what would put us on winning ground: “Democrats will cap out-of-pocket costs for all Americans.”

That’s why Democrats should make capping health care costs and universal cost caps their primary message and organizing idea on health care. From shoring up the ACA to lowering prescription drug costs, this frame works because:

  • It’s simple. It limits your health care costs each year based on your income.
  • It’s universal. Applies to everyone and every kind of coverage: employer, exchange, Medicare, & Medicaid.
  • It’s proven. Current ACA caps reduced out-of-pocket costs for low-income Americans by 17% and the chance of having catastrophic costs by one-third.

President Biden has called for a permanent extension of the ACA premium tax credits in the American Families Plan. As a result, 9 million people will save hundreds of dollars per year on their premiums, and 4 million uninsured people will gain coverage. This is big, bold, and has a real impact on people’s everyday lives. And it’s a step toward capping everyone’s health care costs.

Below is some messaging guidance for how your boss can talk about these measures in a way that would resonate best with constituents:

  • The #AmericanFamiliesPlan caps health care costs for those who buy insurance on their own so no one ever goes bankrupt again paying for health care.
  • Americans’ number #1 priority is lowering their health care costs. The #AmericanFamiliesPlan permanently caps costs for millions, providing security and stability for millions of families.
  • As a result of the health care cost caps passed in the #AmericanRescuePlan, millions of people will save thousands of dollars and gain health insurance coverage. It’s time to make the cost caps permanent and deliver for the working class.
  • 62% of Americans say lowering health care costs is their top priority for the President and Congress. Let’s build on the progress we’ve already made and permanently cap health care costs for those who buy insurance on their own.

Universal coverage is vital. But 92% of Americans already have health insurance coverage. That means when framing an overarching health care message to connect with most voters, we must be focus on lowering health care costs.