U.S. President Joe Biden talks about the coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccination status and his administration’s ongoing response to the pandemic at a state cafeteria at the White House in Washington, May 4, 2021.
Jonathan Ernst | Reuters
The White House on Thursday unveiled a new plan to expand several federal health insurance programs to lower costs to consumers as part of President Joe Biden’s broader $ 1.75 trillion domestic spending package.
Biden plans to expand Medicare, Medicaid federal health insurance programs for the elderly and the poor, and the Affordable Care Act, better known as Obamacare, according to a White House newsletter. Medicare will provide hearing benefits under Extended Benefits. His plan also provides tax credits for up to 4 million uninsured Americans in states that have not expanded Medicaid under the ACA.
He also plans to cut premiums for the roughly 9 million people who get coverage through the ACA by an average of $ 600 per person.
Notably, there was no mention of prescription drug pricing reform, a policy that Democrats and some Republicans have expressed strong support for in the past. Dental and vision benefits for Medicare recipients were also not included in the plan.
Here’s what the plan said:
- Strengthen the Affordable Care Act and lower insurance premiums for 9 million Americans. This structure will reduce premiums for more than 9 million Americans who purchase insurance from the Affordable Care Act market by an average of $ 600 per person per year. For example, a family of four earning $ 80,000 a year will save nearly $ 3,000 a year (or $ 246 a month) in premiums. Experts predict that more than 3 million people who would not otherwise be insured will receive health insurance.
- Bridging the Medicaid coverage gap to get 4 million uninsured people covered. Build Back Better will provide health coverage through Affordable Care Act tax credits to 4 million uninsured people in states that have blocked their Medicaid eligibility. A 40-year-old who is in a coverage deficit will have to pay $ 450 a month for basic coverage – in many cases more than half of their income. This structure provides people with insurance premiums of $ 0, which finally makes healthcare affordable and affordable.
- Extend Medicare to cover hearing benefits. Only 30% of seniors over 70 who might need hearing aids have ever used a hearing aid. The Build Back Better Framework will expand Medicare to include hearing services so that older Americans can access the affordable health care they need.
Biden is due to comment on the plan at 11:30 am ET before leaving for the week of summits in Europe.
The announcement came after disputes over how to pay for the plan threatened to further delay the Build Back Better program. However, the caucus has managed to rally around a handful of revenue collectors targeting big business and those Americans who make more than $ 400,000 a year.
–– Christina Wilkie and Thomas Frank of CNBC contributed to this report.