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The Reviews Are In: Overwhelmingly Popular American Rescue Plan Contains the Most Significant Health Care Reforms in a Decade

By March 3, 2021No Comments

Health Care Provisions in the American Rescue Plan Will Lower Costs and Expand Coverage for Millions

New polling from Public Policy Polling on behalf of Protect Our Care shows that the American Rescue Plan has wide bipartisan support from the American people, even though every member of the House GOP voted against it. As Protect Our Care outlined earlier this week, Republicans are trying to make it more likely for people to get infected with the virus, and less likely to get health care if they do. Much like when Republicans voted to repeal health care in 2017, this vote could haunt them in the months, years, and elections to come. 

Alongside direct checks, money for vaccines, and other critical provisions, this bill includes the most significant reforms to health care in the United States in a decade. This legislation will lower premiums for people purchasing coverage through the ACA marketplaces and expand access to financial assistance for more middle-class families. Additionally, the American Rescue Plan includes robust financial incentives for the 14 states that have not yet implemented Medicaid expansion. The health provisions in the American Rescue Plan will lower costs and expand coverage for millions at a time when access to health care is paramount.

Here’s what the headlines are saying about this expansion:

NBC News: Obamacare Would Get a Big (and Quiet) Overhaul in the COVID Relief Bill. “The $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package that passed the House on Saturday would make one of the biggest changes to the Affordable Care Act in over a decade, and it could set the stage for a broader overhaul of the health care program — but don’t be surprised if you haven’t heard much about it. ” [NBC News, 3/2/21]

CNBC: The $1.9 Trillion Stimulus Bill Would Make Health Insurance More Affordable for Millions. “The $1.9 trillion Covid stimulus package that’s expected to clear the House of Representatives on Friday includes several provisions that aim to make health care more affordable for households. They include: increasing premium subsidies (technically tax credits) through the federal marketplace and state exchanges for 2021 and 2022, expanding who qualifies for them and forgiving amounts due by taxpayers who received too much in subsidies in 2020 (and minimizing that issue for 2021).” [CNBC, 2/26/21

Vox: The Covid-19 Relief Bill Is Also an Obamacare Expansion Bill. “The Covid-19 relief package proposed by President Joe Biden and being considered by Democrats in Congress could expand health care coverage to millions of people, the most significant step in the last 10 years toward patching up some of the holes in the Affordable Care Act.” [Vox, 2/17/21

USA Today: Biden’s COVID-19 Relief Bill Includes an Expansion of Obamacare. Here’s How It Would Work.“That potential boost in insurance help for millions of people would be the first significant expansion of the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, since its 2010 passage. The Senate this week is taking up the $1.9 trillion COVID relief package and Democrats hope it could be sent to Biden’s desk for his signature as early as next week.” [USA Today, 3/2/21

Washington Post: Affordable Care Act Subsidies Likely to Increase Under Congressional Plan. “The expansion of federal subsidies for Affordable Care Act health plans, stretching to reach people who are in the middle class or unemployed, is woven into a proposal the House Ways and Means Committee is expected to approve by the end of this week. The proposal also would raise ACA insurance subsidies for consumers already eligible for that help. The ideas have been adopted in the past year by the Democratic-led House but had no chance of becoming reality until the Senate and the White House shifted last month into Democratic hands.” [Washington Post, 2/10/21

New York Times: At Last, Democrats Get Chance to Engineer Obamacare 2.0. “But Republicans united against the law and, for the next decade, blocked nearly all efforts to buttress it or to make the kinds of technical corrections that are common in the years after a major piece of legislation. Now the Biden administration and a Democratic Congress hope to engineer the first major repair job and expansion of the Affordable Care Act since its passage. They plan to refashion regulations and spend billions through the stimulus bill to make Obamacare simpler, more generous and closer to what many of its architects wanted in the first place.” [New York Times, 2/27/21

Washington Post: The Health 202: Democrats Are Using Their Coronavirus Relief Package to Try Expanding Health Coverage.  “Legislation from the House Energy and Commerce Committee offers the dozen states that haven’t expanded their Medicaid programs under Obamacare a fresh new incentive to do so. Under the proposal released late last night, the federal government would cover an extra 5 percent of costs for all of their Medicaid enrollees – not just the expansion population – if states agreed to expand the program. The extra contributions would last two years.” [Washington Post, 2/10/21]

New York Times: Broad Coalition of Health Industry Groups Calls for Obamacare Expansion. “The coalition is composed of eight powerful industry groups, including America’s Health Insurance Plans, the American Medical Association and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. It released a detailed set of proposals on Wednesday morning, including an increase in the federal subsidies available to help people afford coverage and a three-year re-establishment of the generous match in federal funding to states to entice more of them to expand their Medicaid programs. The coalition also urged the government to spend more money on enrolling people in plans offered by the insurance markets established under the law, efforts that were slashed by the previous administration.” [New York Times, 2/10/21

Politico: Democrats Push Temporary Obamacare Expansion in Covid Bill. “Pieces of the Covid-19 relief package House Democrats released Monday night include the first major expansion of Affordable Care Act subsidies in more than a decade — a key plank of President Joe Biden’s health care agenda that they hope to pass in the coming weeks. Democrats are hoping that the beefed up subsidies, combined with Biden’s recent executive order to reopen the ACA’s markets and advertise heavily to entice people to enroll, will make a major dent in the ranks of uninsured Americans that have grown during the pandemic and ensuing economic recession.” [Politico, 2/8/21

The Hill: House Dems’ COVID-19 Relief Bill Includes 2-Year Boost to ObamaCare Subsidies. “House Democrats’ coronavirus relief legislation released Monday would increase the Affordable Care Act’s financial assistance for two years, providing greater help for enrollees’ to afford their premiums…Increasing ObamaCare’s financial assistance to make premiums more affordable has been a major Democratic goal for years, viewed as an improvement to the original ACA, but has been blocked by Republicans who oppose spending more money on a health care law they oppose.” [The Hill, 2/8/21

Axios: Democrats Eye Big ACA Changes in COVID Relief Bill. “Democrats’ coronavirus relief proposal includes major changes to the Affordable Care Act, aiming to make health insurance more affordable for the millions of people who have lost their employer-based coverage during the pandemic.” [Axios, 2/10/21

New York Times: One Sentence in Biden Stimulus Plan Reveals His Health Care Approach. “Now, control of the White House and a slim majority in Congress mean the first real prospect of significantly strengthening Obamacare since it became law in 2010. President-elect Biden’s inclusion of policies to shore up the health law in his first major legislative package has raised those hopes further.” [New York Times, 1/16/21]