What a Difference a Year Makes
In his first year as President, Joe Biden has made tremendous strides in battling the pandemic, lowering health care costs, and expanding coverage.
When President Biden assumed office one year ago, he inherited the greatest public health crisis this nation has ever faced, but thanks to his leadership, we now have a science driven approach to the pandemic that protects American lives and livelihoods, that has reopened schools, kept businesses afloat, bolstered our health care system, and prevented millions of hospitalizations and deaths. And the work didn’t stop there.
In 2021, President Biden made historic investments in American health care. Thanks to his vision and determination, nearly 14 million people are now covered by an ACA Marketplace plan, an additional 80 million Americans receive their coverage through Medicaid or CHIP, and nearly five million individuals became newly insured. Americans can now sleep easier at night knowing President Biden and Democrats in Congress are fighting to ensure that health care is right for every American.
Biden’s First Year By The Numbers
- 13.8 million Americans now covered under an ACA plan
- 4.6 million Americans newly signed up for ACA Marketplace coverage in 2021
- 83.2 million Americans now have health coverage through Medicaid or CHIP
- 249.4 million people have received at least one COVID-19 shot
- 81 million people have received a booster shot
- 1 million COVID-19 deaths and 10 million hospitalizations have been avoided
- 53 percent of Americans support President Biden’s handling of the pandemic
President Biden Has Expanded Affordable Health Coverage
Millions Of Americans Enrolled In Affordable Coverage. A record 13.8 million Americans now receive their health insurance through an Affordable Care Act Marketplace. More than 4.6 million Americans newly gained coverage through the Marketplace in 2021, including 2.8 million Americans who enrolled during the Special Enrollment Period (SEP), and 1.8 million who signed up during traditional open enrollment.
Cutting Health Care Costs And Expanding Access To Lifesaving Coverage. The American Rescue Plan has reduced or eliminated Marketplace premiums for millions across the country. Under the plan, 3.6 million uninsured Americans became eligible for health coverage tax credits and 1.7 million individuals have access to coverage with zero dollar premiums.
Saving American Families Thousands On Premiums. Premium savings under the American Rescue Plan benefit all Americans, with families now saving an average of $2,400 a year on their health insurance premiums. Four out of five individuals who signed up for a Marketplace plan during the SEP, were able to get coverage for less than $10 per month. These savings are particularly important for older Americans. For example, a 60-year-old couple with an annual income of $75,000 saw their monthly premiums drop from $1,920, to just $531, saving more than $1,389 each month.
Implemented A Ban On 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.
President Biden Has Expanded Access To Medicaid
One In Four Americans Are Now Covered By Medicaid & CHIP. Between February 2020 and June 2021, more than 12 million Americans enrolled in Medicaid or CHIP, bringing the total number of enrollees to an all time high of 83.2 million. Reporting on the increase, The New York Times stated, “The spike in enrollment demonstrates Medicaid’s increasingly important role not just as a safety net, but also as a pillar of the American health system.” President Biden understands the critical roles Medicaid and CHIP play in American health care, which is why he has been a fierce advocate for the expansion and strengthening of Medicaid. The ARP provided generous incentives for non-expansion states to adopt Medicaid, temporarily increasing the federal government’s contribution to each state’s program over a two year period. This increase in federal funding would have exceeded the cost of expansion, creating a large financial benefit to each state.
Revoking Harmful Work Requirements. President Biden understands that health care is a right, not a privilege. In 2021, he kept his promise to roll back discriminatory Medicaid work requirements that create unnecessary obstacles for low-income individuals seeking access to affordable, quality health coverage. The Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services have repeatedly stated that the vast majority of Medicaid beneficiaries are employed, ill, or disabled. The Biden Administration’s quick action put a permanent stop to these requirements in 12 states that received waivers under the previous administration.
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. These numbers demonstrate the immense need for continuous health coverage for a minimum of one year following the birth of a child.
President Biden Has Lead On The Pandemic Response And Saved Lives
Shots in Arms. 75 percent of Americans have received at least one dose of a vaccine, and over 60 percent are fully vaccinated. Over 81 million booster doses have been administered, providing the best protection against the Omicron variant. The Biden Administration has made booster shots free and convenient at over 80,000 locations nationwide. Vaccines are our best tool to prevent severe sickness and death from all variants of Covid-19 and they have already prevented 1.1 million deaths and 10.3 million additional Covid hospitalizations. The administration continues to expand access to vaccines to more and more Americans, authorizing vaccination for 5 to 11 year old children in November, and opening eligibility for booster shots to 12 to 15 year olds in January.
New Access To Therapeutic Drugs And High Quality Masks. On January 4, President Biden announced that the federal government is doubling the U.S.’ order for Pfizer’s Covid-19 antiviral pill, Paxlovid, which has been shown to reduce hospitalizations and severe illness significantly, another vital tool for reducing suffering and bringing the pandemic to an end. Twenty million doses of Paxlovid will be delivered in coming months, with the first shipments sent to hospitals on Christmas Eve. In the largest deployment of personal protective equipment in U.S. history, the Biden administration will distribute 400 million free, high-quality N95 masks at thousands of sites around the country beginning at the end of January.
Increased Testing. Since taking office, the Biden administration has taken numerous steps to increase Americans’ access to vital Covid-19 testing, both at home and at testing sites around the country. There are more than 20,000 free testing sites around the country, including new federal sites deployed in response to the Omicron variant surge. Four times as many rapid tests are available for Americans to use at home than were available last summer, and the administration has purchased a half-billion rapid tests this winter with the initial delivery starting this month. Americans with private health insurance are able to access up to eight, free at-home over-the-counter COVID-19 tests each month. The White House also announced that insurance companies are setting up systems to provide free tests to consumers up front without requiring reimbursement. The announcement is in addition to the Biden administration’s purchase of 500 million free rapid tests to send to American families.
Schools Open. Thanks to the efforts of the Biden administration to provide safe and effective vaccines for students, and funding for masks and ventilation in schools, nearly 100 percent of American students were back in the classroom full time in December 2021, up from under three-quarters at the end of last school year. Although the Omicron variant presents new challenges for teachers and students, the Biden administration remains committed to doing everything possible to keep students and educators safe.
Workers Back To Work. The Biden administration has presided over the largest one year drop in the unemployment rate in U.S. history, and the creation of nearly six million jobs, the most of any first year president in history. Thanks to the American Rescue Plan and the success of the vaccination program, workers are able to return to work with greater confidence.
Meanwhile, Republicans Continue To Restrict Health Care And Fight To Prolong The Pandemic
Every Single Republican Voted Against The American Rescue Plan And Relief For Millions Of Families. Not a single Republican voted for the American Rescue Plan, historic legislation that dramatically expanded health coverage and significantly lowered health care costs for millions of Americans. In addition to providing critical pandemic relief, the ARP has lowered premiums for people purchasing coverage through the marketplaces and expanded access to financial assistance for more middle-class families.
Republican State Leaders Continue To Block Medicaid Expansion. Nationwide four million Americans are currently uninsured because they live in one of 12 states that have rejected Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act. Of these four million, 60 percent are people of color. These individuals have been denied health coverage because Republican lawmakers have waged an ideological war against Medicaid expansion. Even after President Biden included robust incentives for holdout states to expand Medicaid in the American Rescue Plan, Republican leaders have continued to defy expansion efforts, regardless of the enormous health and financial benefits to states. Each year Medicaid expansion is not accepted, thousands of lives are needlessly lost for cheap, political points.
Republicans Continue To Spread Disinformation And Oppose Common Sense Covid Safety Measures. Republicans’ objections to vaccine requirements are putting American lives at risk and causing people to get seriously ill and prolonging the pandemic. Republican governors and legislators in Florida, Iowa, Kansas, Arkansas and Tennessee have changed their unemployment insurance rules to allow workers who are fired or quit over vaccine mandates to receive benefits. Republican members of Congress have filed at least 20 bills to block or roll back vaccine mandates. At least eight Republican governors have banned mask mandates in schools, often putting them at odds with their own constituents and local school boards. Republicans on the House Judiciary Committee used their official Twitter account to spread false information, asking: “If the booster shots work, why don’t they work?” The tweet was later deleted.