Washington, DC — As the nation marks Joe Biden’s 100th day as president, in that time, he has shown health care is a top priority for his administration. Since taking office, President Biden has taken swift action on his health care promises by working to contain the coronavirus pandemic, opening up a special enrollment period so people can get insured, removing burdensome barriers to enrolling in Medicaid, and including historic health care provisions in the American Rescue Plan that expand coverage, lower costs, and address racial disparities in our health care system. In response, Protect Our Care Executive Director Brad Woodhouse issued the following statement:
“Joe Biden is a health care president. President Biden’s health care promises were central to voters electing him, and he is working to deliver on those promises. In his first 100 days, President Biden and Democrats in Congress passed the American Rescue Plan to help pull our country out of the pandemic by putting money in pockets and shots in arms. The American Rescue Plan also included historic health care provisions to expand coverage, make health care more affordable, and address the longstanding racial inequities in our health care system laid bare by the pandemic.
“President Biden opened a special enrollment period that has helped more than 800,000 Americans get covered, removed barriers to enrolling in Medicaid, and reversed the Trump administration’s dangerous position trying to invalidate the ACA. This is a stark contrast from the past four years of Republican sabotage on health care.
“Of course, there is still more work to be done. President Biden laid out his priorities in his speech before Congress, including giving Americans relief from skyrocketing prescription drug prices and making the health care provisions included in the American Rescue Plan to be permanent. It’s clear President Biden and Democrats in Congress remain committed to creating meaningful health care reform that will improve Americans’ lives.”
100 Days In: Joe Biden’s Health Care Presidency
The American Rescue Plan
On March 11, President Biden signed the American Rescue Plan into law, historic legislation that includes measures to expand coverage and to dramatically lower health care costs for millions of Americans. The American Rescue plan:
- Lowers health care costs for millions by increasing financial assistance in the exchanges for the next two years and making financial assistance more widely available to middle class families, ensuring people purchasing coverage on the ACA marketplaces do pay more than 8.5 percent of their income for coverage. In addition to lowering costs for the nine million people currently receiving financial assistance on the marketplace, the American Rescue Plan makes generous subsidies available to 14.9 million uninsured people, according to estimates from the Biden administration. Experts say as many as 25 million Americans could benefit from these provisions.
- Uninsured couples earning more than $70,000 will save $1,000 per month on premiums.
- A family of four earning $90,000 will save $200 per month.
- An individual making $19,000 will not have to pay a monthly premium, saving roughly $66 per month on average.
- Expands coverage by providing robust financial incentives for the 14 states that have not yet implemented Medicaid expansion. Even after paying for the cost of expansion, these states could receive billions in additional funding that could be used to offset spending in other state programs or budget shortfalls. The Urban Institute estimates that more than 6 million people could enroll in Medicaid coverage if the remaining states implemented expansion. This includes at least 2.4 million people of color, 500,000 people with disabilities and almost a million older Americans who are currently uninsured.
- Increases vaccine distribution by investing $160 billion in direct COVID-19 response, including ramping up vaccination efforts, boosting testing, shoring up supplies of PPE, expanding sequencing and analytics efforts, and hiring 100,000 public health workers. This much needed funding will make sure more Americans are able to get vaccinated more quickly, which is key to getting the pandemic under control. Already, more than 230 million doses have been administered — more than doubling the President’s original goal of 100 million shots in 100 days. Roughly 96 million Americans have been fully vaccinated.
- Strengthens health care in vulnerable communities by providing health services for underserved populations, including expanding Community Health Centers and investing in health services on tribal lands. These funds will support the expansion of COVID-19 treatment and care as well as provide the vaccine to underserved populations.
Increasing Health Care Access & Prioritizing Health Care Equity
- President Biden reopened HealthCare.gov for a special enrollment period to help Americans gain coverage as they continue to suffer from the health and economic impacts of the pandemic. More than 528,000 Americans signed up for insurance through the ACA Marketplace during the first six weeks of the special enrollment period, and 17 percent of sign-ups came from Black Americans.
- The Biden administration is investing $50 million in marketing and education efforts during the special enrollment period to reach groups that have historically experienced lower access to health coverage and greater disparities in health outcomes. The administration is also providing a record $80 million in Navigator funding for the 2022 plan year to further boost enrollment.
- In order to address racial disparities in coverage rates, the administration has re-engaged with partner organizations, such as the NAACP, UnidosUS, and AARP to ensure Black and Latino Americans in particular are able to enroll.
- President Biden established a COVID-19 Health Equity Task Force to mitigate the health disparities revealed and exacerbated by the pandemic.
- President Biden directed federal agencies to consider actions to strengthen and protect access to health care.
Reversing Trump Sabotage
- The Biden administration announced it will defend the Affordable Care Act in California v. Texas, the lawsuit before the Supreme Court to completely dismantle the law. This move reverses the Trump administration’s support for ripping away coverage from more than 20 million Americans and protections for 135 million people with pre-existing conditions.
- President Biden directed federal agencies to re-examine policies that undermine the ACA and Medicaid. These policies include:
- Policies that undermine protections for people with pre-existing conditions, including COVID-19
- ACA and Medicaid waivers that could reduce enrollment, including Medicaid work requirements and block grants
- Policies that undermine the ACA Marketplace, like Georgia’s waiver request to pull out of HealthCare.gov with no state-based replacement
- Policies that make it more difficult to enroll in the ACA or Medicaid
- Policies that reduce coverage affordability or limit financial assistance
- The Biden administration sent letters to states signaling it would end Trump’s disastrous work requirements program. So far, the Biden administration has rescinded permissions for work requirements programs in Michigan, Wisconsin, Arkansas, and New Hampshire. The Biden administration also put on hold Georgia’s limited Medicaid expansion waiver that required recipients to work, which was previously approved by the Trump administration.
- The Biden administration began rolling back Trump’s gag rule that barred family planning providers from mentioning abortion to patients in order to receive Title X funding. Trump’s rule forced more than 1,000 clinics to leave the program and reduced the provider capacity of the Title X network by nearly half. The Biden administration’s rule will restore essential funding back to these providers, like Planned Parenthood, which offer essential health care services to low-income patients, including STI screenings and contraception.
- The Biden administration is reviewing Trump’s expansion of association health plans, which can skirt the ACA’s important protections.
- The Biden administration rescinded Trump’s public charge rule, which effectively served as a wealth test for people seeking residency in the United States. Experts point to Trump’s immigration policies, such as the public charge rule, for having deterred many Latino families from obtaining insurance, resulting in steep coverage losses, especially for children.