President Biden and Democrats in Congress Delivered On Their Promises to Lower Health Care Costs, Reduce Drug Prices, and Improve Care for Families Nationwide
Washington DC — Reflecting on two years full of health care wins means there’s a lot to celebrate. In 2020, voters went to the polls demanding lower health care costs, and now they are getting the relief they desperately need. President Biden and Democratic lawmakers have delivered the most expansive health care reform since passage of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). In 2021, Democrats passed the American Rescue Plan, which provided essential relief during the COVID-19 pandemic and delivered lower health care premiums to millions of families. This year, Democrats passed the Inflation Reduction Act to drive down drug prices and extend the premium savings under the American Rescue Plan.
President Biden has also taken executive action to expand affordable coverage, stop surprise billing, strengthen maternal care, and reduce racial disparities in our health care system. As a result, ACA coverage is more affordable than ever before, and the uninsured rate is at an all-time low. This means millions more families have peace of mind knowing they can go to the doctor and get the care they need without fear of going bankrupt or forgoing other basic needs. President Biden and Democrats in Congress never stopped delivering on their promises to lower costs, improve care, and put the well-being of families first.
“As 2022 comes to a close, we should all celebrate the strides in making health care more affordable, accessible, and equitable for the American people,” said Protect Our Care Chair Leslie Dach. “In just two years, President Biden and Democrats in Congress have expanded affordable coverage, taken on Big Pharma to deliver lower prices to patients, and reduced stark disparities in our health care system. These steps will ensure millions of Americans live longer, healthier lives, and it has never been more clear that President Biden and Democrats will not give up the fights until every American has access to high-quality, affordable health care.”
“The last two years have brought monumental changes to health care for the American people. After Republicans spent years trying to hike health care costs and rip coverage away, Americans are finally getting some relief,” said Protect Our Care Executive Director Brad Woodhouse. “President Biden and Democrats in Congress have prioritized the health and well-being of the American people — and the results are piling up. Health insurance is more affordable than ever, millions of families were able to enroll in coverage for the first time and Democrats overcame the largesse of big Pharma to give Medcare the power to negotiate for lower drug prices for seniors. We have not seen this level of progress since the passage of the Affordable Care Act, and it is only paving the way for more victories in the fight to ensure affordable health care is a right for every American.”
By The Numbers
- A record 14.5 million Americans were covered under an ACA plan in 2022.
- The uninsured rate is at an all-time low of 8 percent.
- 85 million people, or one in four Americans, have health coverage through Medicaid or CHIP.
- 13 million Americans with health insurance from an ACA marketplace plan will save an average of $2,400 per family on their premiums thanks to the Inflation
- 49 million Medicare beneficiaries no longer face outrageous price hikes for prescription drugs.
- Seniors’ out-of-pocket costs for prescription drugs will be capped at $2,000 per year beginning in 2025.
- Insulin copays are capped at $35 per month for Medicare beneficiaries beginning in 2023.
- 80 of the most expensive prescription drugs will have lower prices because of Medicare negotiations by 2030.
A Closer Look At Democrats’ Health Care Victories
Reaching Record Levels Of Health Care Coverage. Thanks in large part to the American Rescue Plan, the uninsured rate is at an all-time low. Last year, a record 14.5 million Americans received their health insurance through the ACA marketplaces. And this is just the beginning: Ahead of the 2023 open enrollment period, the Biden administration announced the single-largest investment ever in the Navigator program to help connect even more people to coverage, with a focus on outreach to racial and ethnic minorities, people in rural areas, LGBTQ+ people, and other underserved communities. With the enhanced subsidies in the Inflation Reduction Act and the Biden administration’s historic investment in the Navigator program, new enrollments are already up nearly 40% over last year.
Reducing Premiums For Millions. Premium savings under the American Rescue Plan benefitted millions of Americans, with families saving an average of $2,400 a year on their health insurance premiums. For example, a family of four with an annual income of $60,000 saw their monthly premiums drop from $379, to just $158, saving more than $220 each month. The Inflation Reduction Act extended these premium savings for 13 million families, ensuring no one pays more than 8.5 percent of their income on coverage through the ACA.
Protecting Seniors From Prescription Drug Hikes. Under the Inflation Reduction Act, when drug companies hike prices faster than that the rate of inflation, they will have to pay Medicare a rebate. This will not only save the government billions of dollars, but it will drastically reduce out-of-pocket costs for Medicare beneficiaries. Protecting seniors from these drug hikes will also work to reduce the racial inequities in our health system as Black Medicare beneficiaries are nearly twice as likely than white Medicare beneficiaries to stop taking a prescription due to cost.
Giving Medicare The Power To Negotiate. The Inflation Reduction Act finally ended the ban on giving Medicare the power to negotiate lower drug prices, which will save taxpayers billions of dollars and lower costs for some of the most popular and expensive prescription drugs. These savings will be seen in not just the federal government but also in the out-of-pocket medical expenses paid by millions of American families. By 2030, 80 of the most expensive prescription drugs will have lower prices because of these negotiations.
Capping Drug Costs For Seniors. Millions of people on Medicare still struggle to pay for life-saving prescriptions. People with conditions such as cancer can face thousands in out-of-pocket costs annually even with Medicare coverage. The Inflation Reduction Act dramatically changes this reality for millions of Americans. Under this new law, Part D plans will be required to offer improved financial protections and cap annual out-of-pocket spending to $2,000. This will provide the over 46.6 million Americans with Medicare Part D more reassurance and financial stability knowing these prices are capped.
Cutting Insulin Costs. The outrageous prices of insulin, a drug vital for the survival of 3,429,000 Medicare beneficiaries, have forced 80 percent of Americans with diabetes to take out debt in order to pay for their prescriptions and over 13 percent to skip doses entirely due to high costs. The Inflation Reduction Act caps insulin prices at no more than $35 for all Medicare beneficiaries beginning in January — saving seniors up to $1,500 annually.
Fixing The Family Glitch. President Biden eliminated the family glitch, allowing an additional 1 million people to purchase affordable coverage on the ACA marketplaces with premium tax credits. Previously, millions of families were blocked from receiving affordable coverage under the ACA. A Health Affairs study estimated Americans in the family glitch pay an average of 15.8 percent of their income towards health premiums, nearly double what is permitted under the ACA. An estimated 200,000 uninsured Americans will gain coverage and many families will save hundreds of dollars each much on health premiums.
Ensuring Lifesaving Vaccine Access For Seniors. All Medicare Part D beneficiaries will have access to covered vaccines, such as shingles and Tdap, at no cost starting in 2023. Vaccination programs are a racial equity issue, with white Americans nearly twice as likely to have received the shingles vaccine than Black Americans. This provision alone will save seniors hundreds of dollars on their health care costs, keep millions of people healthy, and prevent dangerous complications associated with shingles, and other serious diseases.
Improving Maternal Health Access. The American Rescue Plan created a pathway to coverage for pregnant Americans, allowing states to extend postpartum coverage under Medicaid from 60 days to 12 months following pregnancy. The United States has the highest rate of maternal mortality in the industrialized world, with 12 percent of maternal deaths occurring between six weeks and one year following delivery, after Medicaid coverage has ended. Today, 37 states and the District of Columbia have extended or plan to extend this coverage to the full 12 months allotted by the American Rescue Plan. Congress extended this option in recent legislation.
Protecting Health Care For Moms And Kids. Congress recently passed legislation to guarantee 12-month continuous coverage for children on Medicaid and CHIP once they are enrolled, ensuring millions are not arbitrarily thrown off of their coverage. It also gives states the ability to extend postpartum Medicaid coverage for new mothers and takes important steps to ensure people who qualify for Medicaid stay covered when states are allowed to end pandemic coverage requirements.
Addressing Racial Disparities and Increasing Health Care Access. The premium savings continued through the Inflation Reduction Act have made more than 65 percent of uninsured Black adults and more than 68 percent of uninsured Hispanic and Latino adults eligible for zero-dollar premium plans. Nearly 80 percent of uninsured Hispanic and Latino adults and 75 percent of uninsured Black adults can now also access plans for less than $50 a month. The Center on Budget Policy and Priorities estimates the premium savings under the Inflation Reduction Act will cause a sharp decline in the uninsured rate across every racial group, with a projected one in three uninsured Black adults gaining coverage.
Improving Health Care In Rural America. Thanks to premium savings in the Inflation Reduction Act, roughly 65 percent of rural Americans now have access to zero-dollar premium health coverage and more than 76 percent are able to find a plan for less than $50 a month, narrowing the coverage differences significantly between rural and urban America.
Banning Surprise Billing. The No Surprises Act went into effect January 1, 2022 and prohibits surprise medical bills for out-of-network care that occurs in unexpected or emergency situations. The Biden administration is committed to protecting patients and holding insurers and providers accountable for deceptive billing practices.
Expanding Low-Income Subsidies Will Be Available To Even More Americans. Currently, individuals with an income between 135 percent and 150 percent of the poverty level only receive partial assistance with their medical expenses through Medicare Part D. Under the Inflation Reduction Act, Democrats have increased the range of full subsidized assistance to individuals with incomes up to 150% above the poverty level. This will allow for 417,000 more Americans to have access to full Medicare Part D assistance, helping them afford countless life-saving medications beginning in 2024.