May 5, 2021 | Updates

ICYMI: ‘The Idea Is To Build On The Affordable Care Act’

WASHINGTON – Demonstrating again that the most effective way to expand access to affordable, high-quality health coverage and care is to build on and improve what’s working, CNBC reports that President Joe Biden’s proposed next steps on health care would “permanently extend recently expanded premium subsidies available for private health insurance through the public marketplace,” rather than opening up Medicare to younger Americans or creating an unaffordable new government health insurance system like the public option.

They report:

The idea is to build on the Affordable Care Act of 2010, otherwise known as Obamacare, which authorized the public exchanges and the financial help for paying premiums … The additional subsidies should result in much lower premiums (than would be available otherwise) for most of the 15 million or so uninsured individuals if they sign up, as well as the 14 million people already enrolled in health insurance through the marketplace, according to research from the Kaiser Family Foundation. 

Extending the enhanced premium subsidies has broad support:

  • [This is] “an idea that enjoys broad support,” POLITICO notes
  • The 94-member New Democrat Coalition sent a letter to President Biden urging him to work with Congress to “permanently expand new subsidies passed as part of the most recent Covid aid package.”
  • Thirty more Democrats are separately pressing the President to make expanded Obamacare subsidies permanent. 

The current system is working, and now is the time to build on it: 

  • The recently enacted American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) represents the biggest expansion of federal help for health insurance since the Affordable Care Act. 
  • The number of people eligible for a subsidy to purchase Marketplace coverage has now increased 20 percent, from 18.1 million to 21.8 million.
  • Sixty-three percent of uninsured people are now eligible for financial assistance through the Marketplaces, Medicaid, or Basic Health Plans. 
  • At the same time, the Biden administration has already taken steps to extend open enrollment in the federal health care marketplaceeliminate ineffective red tape that can prevent Americans from accessing coverage options and urge the Supreme Court to uphold the Affordable Care Act.

 Now is the time to build on and improve what is working in health care. We should not create one-size-fits-all government health insurance systems such as “Medicare at 60,” Medicare buy-in or the public option, which could ultimately lead to many of the same consequences as Medicare for All. Instead, our leaders should build on and improve what’s working, where private coverage, Medicare and Medicaid work together to expand access to health coverage and care in order to lower costs, protect patient choice, expand access, improve quality and foster innovation.


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