facebook linkedin twitter

Biden to Talk Up Health Insurance Cost Cuts in Visit to Ohio

March 23, 2021 by Biden to Talk Up Health Insurance Cost Cuts in Visit to Ohio March 23, 2021by Alexandra Jaffe and Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar, Associated Press
In this March 21, 2021, photo, President Joe Biden speaks with members of the press on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington. Biden is going to Ohio to showcase health insurance cost cuts at what may be the best time for Democrats to talk up the Affordable Care Act since it became law. Biden’s COVID-19 relief law pumps up “Obamacare” subsidies for premiums to address longstanding problems of affordability, particularly for people with solid middle-class incomes. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden will showcase health insurance cost cuts in a speech in Ohio on Tuesday during what may be the best time for Democrats to talk up the Affordable Care Act since it became law.

Biden’s COVID-19 relief law pumps up “Obamacare” premium subsidies to address longstanding problems of affordability, particularly for people with solid middle-class incomes. More taxpayer assistance means, in effect, that consumers who buy their own policies through HealthCare.gov will pay hundreds of dollars less out of their own pockets.

“The ACA is over a decade old and this is literally the first time that Democrats have been successful at improving it,” said analyst Larry Levitt of the nonpartisan Kaiser Family Foundation. “Democrats have succeeded politically by selling the ACA’s protections for preexisting conditions, but affordability has always been a challenge. And now Democrats have successfully improved the premium help available under the law.”

Biden’s speech Tuesday in Columbus, the capital of a political battleground state, is part of a mini-blitz by the White House. Newly minted Health Secretary Xavier Becerra will echo Biden’s comments Tuesday in Carson City, Nevada, and join a Florida-themed Zoom event. Second gentleman Douglas Emhoff will pitch the relief bill in Omaha, Nebraska.

The numbers show that the Biden administration does have a product that consumers may want to hear about.

The COVID-19 legislation cuts premiums paid by a hypothetical 64-year-old making $58,000 from $1,075 a month to about $413, based on Congressional Budget Office estimates. A 45-year-old making $19,300 would pay zero in premiums as compared with about $67 on average before the law. People who have even a brief spell of unemployment this year can get a standard plan for zero premium and reduced copays and deductibles.

New and existing customers will be able to take advantage of the savings starting April 1 by going to HealthCare.gov. States that run their own health insurance markets will offer the same enhanced assistance, although timetables for implementation may vary.

Biden has opened a special sign-up period for uninsured people to get coverage through HealthCare.gov through May 15, and the early response has been strong. By spreading the word about the higher subsidies, the White House is hoping to super-charge enrollment. But the 11 million people who already have private plans through the health law will also benefit.

Republicans see Biden’s sweeter subsidies as an example of Democratic overreach on the COVID-19 bill. Policy consultant Brian Blase, a former health care adviser in the Trump White House, expects most of the additional taxpayer assistance will merely substitute for what private households would have otherwise paid.

Their complaints notwithstanding, Republicans may face a political dilemma. The higher health care subsidies are keyed to the pandemic and expire by the end of 2022. That will let Democrats set up election-year votes to make the new benefits permanent, or add even more.

The COVID-19 bill follows Biden’s strategy of building on the Obama-era health law to move the U.S. toward coverage for all.

Another provision offers a dozen or so holdout states led by Republicans a financial inducement to expand Medicaid to more low-income adults. So far there have been no takers.

It’s unclear how big a dent the Biden legislation will make in the number of uninsured people, which has risen to an estimated 33 million or more.

But it represents the biggest expansion of federal help for health insurance since the ACA’s enactment. Obamacare not only survived President Donald Trump’s repeated attempts to tear it down, it’s now getting new life.

Because health insurance is so complicated, consumers are going to have to do their homework to figure out if there’s something in the legislation for them. But people who qualify for higher tax credits won’t lose out. If they don’t claim the enhanced assistance immediately, they’re still entitled to the money when they file their 2021 tax returns next year.

Tuesday marks the 11th anniversary of then-President Barack Obama signing the Affordable Care Act. Biden, who as vice president was at Obama’s side at the signing ceremony, is scheduled to tour the James Cancer Hospital and Solove Research Institute before his speech.

Loud Climate Policy

Let me set the stage: There’s a Democratic majority in both houses of Congress and a Democrat in the White... Read More

Let me set the stage: There’s a Democratic majority in both houses of Congress and a Democrat in the White House. Climate advocates have spent the last few years in the exile of a Republican Administration, one quarter drawing more and more attention to hurricanes and... Read More

October 15, 2021
by Reece Nations
Tech Innovation ‘Fundamental Foundation’ of Feasibly Solving Climate Crisis

WASHINGTON -- The foundations of what could prove to be the next great innovations in climate change prevention technology were... Read More

WASHINGTON -- The foundations of what could prove to be the next great innovations in climate change prevention technology were laid out and dissected during a Brookings Institution webinar this week. Sanjay Patnaik, director of Brookings Center on Regulation and Markets, hosted a virtual discussion on... Read More

October 15, 2021
by Reece Nations
Texas Removes LGBTQ Youth Suicide Hotline After Primary Challenger Goads Abbott

AUSTIN, Texas — The Texas Department of Family and Protective Services has taken down a webpage that offered resources to... Read More

AUSTIN, Texas — The Texas Department of Family and Protective Services has taken down a webpage that offered resources to LGBTQ youth after criticism was leveled at Gov. Greg Abbott by a primary challenger for its inclusion. Former Texas state Sen. Don Huffines, who announced his... Read More

October 15, 2021
by Victoria Turner
Panelist Says Counterfeit Goods a 'Globalized Business’

WASHINGTON -- If you do a quick Google search for fake Apple Airpods, an almost endless list of options will... Read More

WASHINGTON -- If you do a quick Google search for fake Apple Airpods, an almost endless list of options will come up, said Piotr Stryszowski, senior project manager at the Organization for Economic Development and Cooperation, Thursday.  Not only does the counterfeit problem affect the U.S.... Read More

FDA Panel Takes Up Tough Questions on J&J COVID-19 Boosters

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. health advisers on Friday tackled who should get boosters of Johnson & Johnson's single-shot COVID-19 vaccine... Read More

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. health advisers on Friday tackled who should get boosters of Johnson & Johnson's single-shot COVID-19 vaccine and when — and whether using a competing brand for the second dose might provide better protection. The push for boosters kicked off last month after... Read More

Report: Offshore Wind Supply Chain Worth $109B Over 10 Years

ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. (AP) — A group studying the economics of offshore wind energy in the U.S. says building and... Read More

ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. (AP) — A group studying the economics of offshore wind energy in the U.S. says building and operating the nascent industry will be worth $109 billion to businesses in its supply chain over the next 10 years. The report by the Special Initiative... Read More

News From The Well
scroll top