Biden-Obama: reunion at the White House to celebrate the health law

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Biden and Obama are celebrating the 12th anniversary of the law that, in 2010, the then-Vice President memorably called a “big (expletive) deal.” Its power to resist was bolstered by three Supreme Court victories and an outright vote by the late Sen. John McCain, which shattered former President Donald Trump’s efforts to repeal and replace it.

In addition to talking about health care at the White House, Biden and Obama plan to meet for lunch, recalling their weekly ritual when Biden was Obama’s vice president.

“They’re real friends, not just friends of Washington,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki said. She said the two presidents would also discuss Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and other world events.

Obama likes to refer to his health care law as a “starting house” for Americans to build on, gradually reducing the 9% share of the population that is still uninsured. The rate was almost 15% in 2013, before the law’s coverage provisions came into effect. Between Medicaid’s expansion of the Health Act and its health insurance markets, it is now estimated that more than 30 million people are covered.

Shortly after taking office, Biden opened health insurance markets to anyone seeking coverage during the COVID-19 pandemic, and his coronavirus relief bill provided a significant, albeit temporary, boost. , financial assistance. The result was a record 14.5 million people taking out subsidized private coverage.

As for how to maintain this trend, Obama and Biden have no shortage of options to discuss.

The Biden administration has been working on a solution to what’s known as the law’s family problem, a quirk that’s estimated to prevent about 5 million people from being covered by the law. The new policy will be announced on Tuesday, said a person familiar with the planning who was not authorized to discuss it publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity.

The people who stumbled due to the family glitch are dependents of workers who have an offer of employer coverage that the government interprets as affordable. Generally, people with affordable employer coverage are not eligible for taxpayer-subsidized ACA plans.

But the problem with the current interpretation is that affordability is determined by the cost of employee-only coverage, not the more expensive family policies. Workers able to pay their own share may not be able to cover the entire family’s premiums. The family is therefore excluded from ACA coverage.

A Biden administration settlement addressing the issue was recently approved by the White House. The intent of the original policy was to block those covered by the employer from accessing subsidized Health Act markets, but supporters say it has proven to be too restrictive.

Both presidents must also consider more fundamental issues, both politically and politically.

Unless Democrats in Congress finally unite around a version of Biden’s welfare legislation, his enhanced financial assistance for millions of ACA plan purchases will expire at the end of this year. A return to higher premiums would likely lead to more uninsured people, a political embarrassment for Democrats determined to expand coverage.

The Biden legislation, which passed the House but sprayed in the Senate, also includes a mechanism to cover up to 4 million uninsured low-income adults in states that have refused the law’s Medicaid expansion. about health. It would deliver on Biden’s campaign promise to build on existing government programs to bring the United States closer to coverage for all.

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