Biden, Harris call for expanding ObamaCare, making boosted subsidies permanent
President Biden and Vice President Harris on Tuesday called on Congress to expand the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and make boosted subsidies permanent as they marked proposed updates to the bill with former President Obama.
Tuesday marked Obama’s first visit to the White House since his departure in 2017. During his visit, Biden and Harris commemorated the 12 years that had passed since the legislation was signed into law by the former president himself.
The president signed an executive order directing federal agencies to do “everything in their power” to expand health care coverage. During the signing, Biden vowed to make it easier for people to enroll in health care coverage and to help people avoid low-quality health care.
A senior administration official previously disclosed that the Treasury Department would be proposing a rule change to ObamaCare to fix the “family glitch” in the bill that precluded individuals who received coverage through a family member from receiving financial assistance to pay for their premium subsidies.
“We’re working to change that. Once today’s proposed rule is finalized. Starting next year, working families in America will get the help they need to afford full family coverage. Everyone in the family,” Biden said.
Biden argued that if Republicans “have their way,” hundreds of millions of Americans with preexisting conditions could be denied health care.
“That’s what the law was before ObamaCare,” he said. “Premiums are going to go through the roof. Well, I got a better idea. Instead of destroying the Affordable Care Act, let’s keep building on it.”
Also during the event on Tuesday, Harris called for Medicare to be given the ability to negotiate drug prices, a move that progressives have supported in Congress.
Harris cited the 12 remaining states that have not adopted or implemented expanded Medicaid, blasting their decisions on the matter as “petty partisan obstruction.”
Harris also called on Congress to make the boosted income-based tax subsidies in the ACA permanent. The expanded subsidies are set to expire at the end of the 2022 coverage year.