Chiquita Brooks-LaSure, managing director at Manatt Health, served as a witness at a U.S. House of Representatives Ways and Means Committee hearing titled “Pathways to Universal Health Coverage” on June 12. The hearing covered policy options to expand coverage, including Medicaid “buy-in” programs, Medicare for All and others.
Brooks-LaSure discussed federal and state buy-in options to expand coverage. Prior to joining Manatt, she played a key role in guiding the Affordable Care Act (ACA) through passage and implementation, as part of the Democratic staff for the Ways and Means Committee as well as the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
The other confirmed witnesses at the hearing included healthcare leaders and key figures in implementing the ACA, including Dr. Donald Berwick, resident emeritus and senior fellow at the Institute for Healthcare Improvement and former administrator of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services; Pam MacEwan, CEO of the state of Washington’s ACA exchange, Washington Healthplanfinder; Rebecca Wood, patient advocate and mother from Boston; and Tricia Neuman, director of the program on Medicare policy at the Kaiser Family Foundation.
Individual states like Washington, Colorado and New Mexico are considering different options to leverage the administrative savings and bargaining power of state public health insurance programs to create more affordable coverage options for consumers. Additionally, the House Medicare for All proposal, sponsored by Representative Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.), would introduce a single federal program with comprehensive benefits for all U.S. residents. Other proposals to expand public insurance include the Medicare at 50 Act, which would expand Medicare to individuals ages 50–64, Medicare for America, and the State Public Option Act, which would extend ACA premium and cost-sharing subsidies to buy-in and public option plans developed by individual states.
Read Chiquita’s testimony here and watch the full hearing here.