President Joe Biden heads to Ohio on Tuesday afternoon to mark the 11th anniversary of the Affordable Care Act and sell his COVID relief plan.
It’s his first foray into a red state to pitch his $1.9 trillion America Rescue Plan, which includes provisions to help pay for the healthcare subsidies. With those new provisions, red states like Alabama and Wyoming are considering expanding their programs to residents whose incomes are too high to qualify for Medicaid but too low to afford private health insurance plans.
Biden’s visit comes as his administration is encouraging Americans to sign up for a COVID vaccine while still adhering to social distancing and wearing face masks. The president also makes the trip under the shadow of another mass shooting in the United States with 10 people in Boulder, Colorado, dead after a gunman opened fire in a grocery store.
He returns to Columbus where, almost a year ago during the Democratic presidential primary, he talked about gun violence during a campaign stop. In his remarks, he said he would pursue background checks on all firearms purchases, ban large-capacity magazines for guns and end civil immunity for gun manufacturers in wrongful death lawsuits.
The president will comment on the Boulder shootings at some point on Tuesday, administration officials told CNN.
President Joe Biden heads to Ohio on Tuesday afternoon to mark the 11th anniversary of the Affordable Care Act and sell his COVID relief plan
On Tuesday’s visit, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said the president will ‘encourage Americans to sign up for insurance at HealthCare.gov during the special enrollment period his administration opened amid the pandemic.’
Her comments were made at Monday’s press briefing before the shooting in Boulder.
Tuesday marks the 11th anniversary of President Barack Obama signing the Affordable Care Act into law. Biden, as vice president, was at Obama’s side at the signing ceremony where he famously called the law a ‘big f***ing deal.’
In Columbus, Biden is scheduled to tour the James Cancer Hospital and Solove Research Institute. And he will then make remarks.
The president, last month, signed an executive order to open up the federal health insurance marketplace for three months so people who lost their insurance during the coronavirus pandemic can sign up for Obamacare.
More than 200,000 Americans signed on in the first two weeks of open enrollment, which, officials argue, is a sign more health care insurance access is needed. The expanded enrollment period, available via Healthcare.gov, ends on May 15. Nearly 15 million Americans without healthcare insurance are eligible for Obamacare.
And Biden’s COVID relief plan contains provisions to help shoulder the healthcare costs.
The COVID-19 legislation cuts premiums paid by a hypothetical 64-year-old making $58,000 from $1,075 a month to about $413, based on Congressional Budget Office estimates, according to the Associated Press.
A 45-year-old making $19,300 would pay zero in premiums as compared with about $67 on average before the law. People who have been unemployed this year can get a standard plan for zero premium and reduced copays and deductibles.
Biden will tout his America Rescue Plan, which includes provisions to help pay for insurance subsidies
The executive order Biden signed last month also reversed many Trump-era policies that weakened the Affordable Care Act.
Last spring, when the pandemic took hold and economy imploded, healthcare experts asked the Trump administration to reopen the federal exchanges so people could buy healthcare insurance. The Trump administration refused the request.
Additionally, the Biden administration has argued the Supreme Court should uphold the Affordable Care Act. The Trump administration sided with state attorneys general suing to strike down the law. The justices are expected to issue their ruling in July.
The Ohio trip is part of a Biden administration battleground state blitz to tout the COVID relief plan, which the White House has dubbed the ‘Help is Here’ tour.
On Tuesday, newly-sworn in Health Secretary Xavier Becerra will be in Carson City, Nevada. Second gentleman Douglas Emhoff will be in Omaha, Nebraska. Vice President Kamala Harris was in Florida on Monday while Emhoff was in Iowa.
The president pledged to expand health insurance during his presidential campaign even though didn’t go as far as to sign on to the Medicare-for-All, the universal healthcare plan touted by progressives like Bernie Sanders.
But he did vow a ‘public option’ for a government-run insurance plan that would also address the rising cost of healthcare premiums and prescription drugs. He needs Congress to make that happen.