Washington, DC - Today, the Council for Affordable Health Coverage awarded U.S. Congresswoman Kyrsten Sinema its Affordability Champion Award for holding down health costs through bipartisan, commonsense solutions.

Congresswoman Sinema's leadership on the Protecting Affordable Coverage for Employees (PACE) Act helped avoid an unnecessary 18 percent increase in health insurance premiums of small and medium-sized firms, providing much-needed relief to roughly 150,000 businesses across the country.

"We commend Congresswoman Sinema for her bipartisan efforts to protect and preserve the existing small group market. This critical law helps small and mid-sized businesses dodge futile premium increases," said CAHC President Joel White. "Achieving this reform in the lead up to a contentious presidential election year was an uphill battle, but thanks to Congresswoman Sinema's tireless efforts, bipartisanship and common sense prevailed."

The law protects small businesses from an Affordable Care Act provision that would have forced companies with 51-100 employees, which have historically been defined as large group, into the 2016 small group market, where they would have faced additional mandates, higher premiums, less flexibility, and new barriers to coverage. According to the Congressional Budget Office, the PACE Act will lower health costs and increase employee wages.

"When I talk to Arizona families and employers about health care, the concern I hear most is increasing cost," said Congresswoman Sinema. "The PACE Act is an example of how much we can accomplish when we put partisanship aside and work together to solve problems. I'm honored to receive this award and will continue working on both sides of the aisle to find real solutions that ensure health care is affordable for Arizona families and employers."

The PACE Act passed with overwhelming bipartisan support and was signed it into law in the fall of 2015.

"Congresswoman Sinema is a prime example of what we can accomplish when we set partisanship aside and focus on saving consumer health dollars," said White. "CAHC is proud to name her an Affordability Champion."