Opinion: Arizona’s Senators Must Preserve Healthcare Subsidies 

woman looking at phone while having chemo IV in arm

By Ana Valenzuela

June 3, 2022

“Congress must act immediately to ensure that subsidies expanded in the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) last year are made permanent.”

I’m proud to serve as a healthcare advocate, calling for solutions to enhance the quality of life and health care outcomes for people in every community. As a cancer survivor, I know firsthand the critical nature of efficiently navigating your personal health care needs and the hard work of ensuring you receive timely, quality care that’s necessary to fight chronic illnesses like cancer.

I’ve seen how the public health crisis of the past two years has especially impacted people who are already struggling with chronic conditions. And perhaps most alarming is the fact that so many patients still do not receive the care they need or choose to forgo care, because they don’t have access to affordable health insurance.

Trial of Health, Trial of Finance

Battling cancer requires a lot of sacrifices, including financial discipline, to be able to survive. No patient deserves to fight cancer while also struggling to put food on the table. Far too often, I’ve heard stories about people with potentially life-threatening conditions who are unable to afford the care they need. For me, I will never forget the mix of emotions I felt when I was undergoing treatment—stress, doubt, fear, sadness, and uncertainty. It’s a battle every day to stay positive, which is a crucial part of recovery. Throughout my journey, I was shown so much kindness from so many doctors and nurses who took on my care—care only made available to me through health insurance.

This is why access to affordable health care is such a personal issue for me. Everyone should be able to receive the care they need, especially as we recover from the pandemic and people are still confronted with unexpected health challenges. 

Thankfully, our legislators representing Arizona have an opportunity to help right now—by making sure health care subsidies are permanently available to thousands of Arizonans. It’s an urgent opportunity because these subsidies are set to expire at the end of this year. Congress must act immediately to ensure that subsidies expanded in the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) last year are made permanent.

Providing Care for Arizona’s Uninsured

These insurance tax credits were introduced in the Affordable Care Act (ACA), which helped ease the financial burden on millions of Americans struggling to afford care. These tax credits were then expanded in the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) last year, offering new relief to nearly 90,000 of Arizona’s uninsured residents.

RELATED: Opinion: Arizona Families Need Congress to Make Child Tax Credit Expansion Permanent

If lawmakers secure a permanent solution for these tax credits, thousands more uninsured Arizonans will be able to reap the benefits of greater access to affordable care. Lawmakers must not let this opportunity slip away. They can’t simply put off these challenges for another few years. All Americans deserve the security of affordable health insurance—Congress must make subsidies permanent without delay as the year-end expiration date approaches.

Healthier Communities Make Safer Communities

As we all know, managing chronic illnesses and other heightened health conditions has been made more difficult by the pandemic. People have struggled to attend doctor’s appointments or effectively communicate with health professionals. My experience battling cancer showed me just how important it is to seek medical help and advice at the earliest possible opportunity. Our communities are safer when Arizonans are able to see a doctor whenever they need help, not just in crisis situations. And as communities across the country are strengthened with access to affordable health care coverage, meaningful, long-term progress to improve health outcomes and quality of life for our citizens can be achieved.

I’m calling all Arizonans in Congress—especially Sens. Kyrsten Sinema and Mark Kelly, and Rep. Tom O’Halleran—to deliver better health care for all now by ensuring health insurance subsidies are protected for good.

The time is now for lawmakers to make sure ARPA health insurance tax credits are made permanent. Members of Congress have shown their willingness to work together on solutions to serve the common good during the turmoil of the COVID-19 pandemic, especially with the passage of the landmark infrastructure bill last year. Americans are eager for more progress—and Congress should get serious about taking decisive action to shore up access to affordable health care. No person should go without the care they need, especially those already struggling with chronic health conditions.

I’m a warrior, and I will never stop advocating for quality care for all. Arizonans and countless other Americans cannot wait any longer for the assurance that affordable access to care is permanent—and within reach.

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