Public Health

Biden outlines plans to expand US health programs as part of a comprehensive law on domestic spending

President Joe Biden speaks in the State Dining Room of the White House in Washington on Aug.

Jonathan Ernst | Reuters

The White House on Thursday unveiled a new plan to expand several state health insurance programs to lower consumer costs under President Joe Biden’s broader $ 1.75 trillion domestic spending package.

According to a factsheet released by the White House, Biden plans to expand Medicare, Medicaid – the state health insurance programs for the elderly and poor – and the Affordable Care Act, better known as Obamacare. Medicare would provide hearing services as part of the extended benefits. His plan would also provide 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 approximately 9 million people insured through the ACA by an average of $ 600 per person.

In particular, no mention was made of prescription drug pricing reform, a policy for which Democrats and some Republicans have announced strong support in the past. Dental and vision benefits for Medicare beneficiaries were also excluded from the plan.

So it was in the plan:

  • Strengthen the Affordable Care Act and lower premiums for 9 million Americans. The framework will lower premiums for more than 9 million Americans who purchase insurance through the Affordable Care Act Marketplace by an average of $ 600 per person per year. For example, a family of four earning $ 80,000 a year would save nearly $ 3,000 a year (or $ 246 a month) in health insurance premiums. Experts estimate that more than 3 million people who would otherwise be uninsured will take out health insurance.
  • Close the Medicaid coverage gap that is causing 4 million uninsured people to get coverage. The Build Back Better Framework will provide healthcare through premium tax credits under the Affordable Care Act to up to 4 million uninsured people in states that have banned them from Medicaid. A 40-year-old in the coverage gap would have to pay $ 450 per month for benchmark coverage – in many cases more than half of their income. The framework offers $ 0 to individuals in rewards and finally makes healthcare affordable and accessible.
  • Extend Medicare to Cover Hearing Services. Only 30% of seniors over 70 who could benefit from hearing aids have ever used them. The Build Back Better framework will add hearing services to Medicare so that older Americans can access the affordable care they need.

Biden is expected to comment on the plan at 11:30 a.m. ET before heading to a week-long summit in Europe.

The announcement comes after haggling over how to pay for the plan, which could further delay the Build Back Better agenda. Still, the caucus managed to rally around a handful of revenue streams, largely aimed at big business and these Americans, to make more than $ 400,000 annually.

– CNBC’s Christina Wilkie and Thomas Franck contributed to this report.

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