Shaheen Introduces Bipartisan Health Care Bill to Reduce Costs & Expand Choice for Direct Primary Care

January 28, 2021

(Washington, DC) – U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) today joined Senators Bill Cassidy, M.D. (R-LA), Tim Scott (R-SC) and Mark Kelly (D-AZ) to introduce bipartisan legislation to lower the cost of health care and expand patients’ access to their primary care providers.

“As communities in New Hampshire and across the country face down this deadly pandemic, Congress must be doing everything in its power to make health care as affordable and accessible as possible,” said Senator Shaheen. “I’m glad to work with Senator Cassidy and this bipartisan group to expand Direct Primary Care models so that families have more flexibility in accessing primary care through use of their Health Savings Accounts. Helping Granite Staters save money while improving the quality of health care will always be a top priority of mine, and I appreciate the bipartisan spirit to pursue this commonsense effort to help working families.”

Direct Primary Care (DPC) encourages patients to develop personal relationships with their primary care physician. DPC focuses on prevention and primary care, relying less on specialist and hospital referrals. It is a growing model used by thousands of practices in almost every state.

DPC agreements replace copays and deductibles with flat, affordable monthly fees. Unfortunately, employers can’t provide this benefit to anyone with a health savings accounts (HSAs) paired with high-deductible health plans (HDHP).

The Senators’ bill, the Primary Care Enhancement Act, clarifies the tax code that a DPC agreement does not make a patient ineligible to contribute to an HSA, and that and that pre-tax HSA funds may be used to pay DPC fees.

Shaheen has led efforts in Congress to protect and improve the ACA, including leading all 47 Senate Democrats on a Senate resolution that would reverse the Department of Justice’s decision to side with U.S. District Court Judge Reed O’Connor’s ruling that would strike down the ACA. This health care sabotage could result in 133 million Americans losing protections for pre-existing conditions, millions more Americans without health insurance, soaring prescription drug costs for seniors, and nearly 90,000 Granite Staters losing health care coverage. Senator Shaheen also spearheaded Senate Democrats’ proposal to make health care affordable and accessible for Americans during the COVID-19 public health emergency. She introduced the Marketing and Outreach Restoration to Empower (MORE) Health Education Act of 2019 with Senators Tim Kaine (D-VA) and Gary Peters (D-MI) to counteract Trump administration sabotage efforts that have slashed funding for health care enrollment advertising and marketing by 90 percent since the President took office. She also introduced the Protecting Americans with Pre-existing Conditions Act with Senators Mark Warner (D-VA), Ben Cardin (D-MD) and Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) to prevent the Trump administration from using federal premium tax credits to  promote and incentivize enrollment in “junk plans” that do not provide coverage of pre-existing conditions or essential health benefits.  Shaheen and a group of Senators previously called on the Trump administration to do more to prevent third-party web brokers from steering individuals toward these junk health insurance plans.  

Shaheen championed a health care affordability package that includes three pieces of legislation to reduce health care costs for patients and expand access to critical medical services. Together, the Marketplace Certainty ActImproving Health Insurance Affordability Act and Reducing Costs for Out-of-Network Services Act would make essential reforms to the health care law that would help stabilize the marketplace, lower premiums for middle-class families and combat escalating out-of-pocket health care costs.