President And Congress Coalesce Around Building And Improving On What Works In Health Care
WASHINGTON – As our nation’s health care system works together to expand access to coverage and care, President Joe Biden’s proposed next steps on health care, which he will detail during an address to a joint session of Congress tonight, would “make recent boosts to Obamacare subsidies permanent, an idea that enjoys broad support,” POLITICO Pulse notes.
Last week, the 94-member New Democrat Coalition sent President Biden a letter urging him to work with Congress to “permanently expand new subsidies passed as part of the most recent Covid aid package,” POLITICO Pulse reported. In a separate letter, “30 Democrats — most of whom were elected during the party’s 2018 wave — are pressing Biden to make expanded Obamacare subsidies permanent as part of his infrastructure plan, warning that ‘we cannot afford to backtrack on the historic progress we’ve made,’” POLITICO Pulse also reported.
The Associated Press reports that the recently-enacted American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) represents “the biggest expansion of federal help for health insurance since the Obama-era Affordable Care Act,” and an analysis by the Kaiser Family Foundation finds that “the number of people eligible for a subsidy to purchase Marketplace coverage has increased 20 percent from 18.1 million to 21.8 million with [its] passage,” while “the majority of uninsured people (63 percent) are now eligible for financial assistance through the Marketplaces, Medicaid, or Basic Health Plans. In fact, more than four out of 10 uninsured people are eligible for a free or nearly free health plan through one of these programs.”
At the same time, the Biden Administration has already taken steps to extend open enrollment in the federal health care marketplace, eliminate ineffective red tape that can prevent Americans from accessing coverage options and urge the Supreme Court to uphold the Affordable Care Act.
Demonstrating a lack of support for undermining the employer-provided coverage and other private plans on which millions of Americans rely and with which most are satisfied, President Biden’s proposals do not include language to create the public option or to open Medicare up to younger Americans – “changes that would move the country closer to a single-payer system — and the demise of private health insurance,” POLITICO Playbook reports.
With our health care system already working together to help Americans get healthy and stay healthy, this is not the time for one-size-fits-all proposals 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 work together to build on and improve what’s working, where private coverage, Medicare and Medicaid work together to expand access to coverage and care in order to lower costs, protect patient choice, expand access, improve quality and foster innovation.