MORE Health Education Act

The Marketing and Outreach Restoration to Empower Health (MORE) Health Education Act was introduced in the Senate as bill S. 455 and in the House of Representatives as H.R. 987 in early February 2019 [1, 2]. In the House, the MORE Health Education Act has been incorporated into the Strengthening Health Care and Lowering Prescription Drug Costs Act—both effectively H.R. 987 [2]. The legislation was spearheaded by Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (NH), Sen. Gary C. Peters (MI), Sen. Tim Kaine (VA), and Sen. Margaret Wood Hassan (NH); and in the House by Rep. Lisa Blunt Rochester (DE), Rep. Kathy Castor (FL), Rep. Dan Kildee (MI) and Rep. Lucy McBath (GA). The MORE Health Education Act principally seeks to revise budget alterations to the Affordable Care Act (ACA) enacted in recent years, beginning in 2016 [3]. More specifically, the bill would attempt to reverse funding cuts to the ACA’s education, marketing, and outreach intervention efforts administered by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). The fiscal allocation in question is principally geared towards supporting capable community-outreach efforts as well as enrollment processes necessary for registering qualifying individuals and administering adequate healthcare provisions through the ACA [2, 3, 4].

The relevance and impetus for the MORE Health Education Act is saliently contextualized against a backdrop of financial cuts to ACA community guidance work enacted in recent years. In FY 2016, the advertising and outreach budget for enrollment efforts was granted $100 million; however, the allocation subsequently experienced a 90% cut over the following years, with $10 million apportioned in FY 2018 [4]. Given the many intricacies of the health insurance market, supporters of the bill claim that recent alterations to enrollment measures and timelines, in conjunction with budget cuts, have resulted in eligible consumers lacking coverage [3,4]. More specifically, supporters argue that such funds are critical towards producing and promoting culturally and linguistically competent materials as well as bolstering outreach educational campaigns to connect with and register eligible consumers. Such enrollment efforts are aimed across the country, though are posited to be especially crucial in reaching rural and otherwise difficult-to-access communities. Individuals in these communities may require highly targeted educational and outreach work as they are significantly more likely to lack the information and resources necessary to navigate complex federal health insurance networks [1, 3, 4].

Following approval of the House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairs, H.R. 987 advanced to deliberation on the floor. On May 16, the House voted to approve the bill with 234 in favor and 183 opposed, with all but five votes falling along bipartisan lines [5]. In the Senate, the bill is currently at a stand-still as it remains under review by the Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions [1]. Certainly, continued advocacy efforts to promote federal healthcare market awareness and enrollment processes to all populations throughout the U.S. remains at the forefront of numerous government officials’ agendas as they seek to ensure healthcare coverage for all Americans.

[1] “S. 455: MORE Health Education Act.”, February 12, 2019.

[2] “H.R. 987-Strengthening Health Care and Lowering Prescription Drug Costs Act.” House of Representatives Committee on Rules, May 20, 2019.

[3]  “MORE Health Education Act a Needed Step to Boosting Health Coverage for America’s Uninsured.” Community Catalyst, n.d.

[4]  Miller, Paydon. “MORE Health Education Act” Young Invincibles, February 6, 2019.

[5] Kathy, Gilbert, Gil, Cisneros, Yvette, Clarke, Debbie, et al. “HR 987 – MORE Health Education Act – National Key Vote.” Vote Smart, May 16, 2019.

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