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White House recognizes Obamacare anniversary by warning of GOP threats to health care

The Affordable Care Act, which has been in effect for 13 years, still faces Republican efforts to gut it — but the Biden administration has worked to strengthen it.

By Oliver Willis - March 24, 2023
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In this Jan. 4, 2017 file photo, Vice President Joe Biden, left, watches President Barack Obama, center, at Conmy Hall, Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall, Va.

The White House on Thursday marked the 13th anniversary of the Affordable Care Act, otherwise known as Obamacare, by releasing a series of fact sheets explaining how millions of Americans could lose health care coverage if some Republicans succeed with their agenda to dismantle President Barack Obama’s signature health care law.

“The fact sheets demonstrate how Congressional Republicans’ reported proposals will raise premiums and health care costs, threaten health care for Americans with pre-existing health conditions, slash protections against catastrophic medical bills, and will balloon waitlists for quality care for seniors and people with disabilities,” the White House said in a statement.

Obama signed the Affordable Care Act was signed into law on March 23, 2010. The law passed with only Democratic votes in Congress.

President Joe Biden’s 2023 budget proposal, released on March 9, called for an expansion of the health care law, including larger subsidies for health insurance coverage.

In Thursday’s release, the White House cited multiple reports indicating that while congressional Republican leadership has not yet endorsed a concrete budget proposal, they have been in discussions with Russell Vought — the head of the conservative Center for Renewing America who served as budget director under former President Donald Trump — while crafting their position.

In December, the Center for Renewing America released its framework for a 2023 budget, entitled “A Commitment to End Woke and Weaponized Government.” That document calls for significant changes to the Affordable Care Act, including a repeal of Medicaid expansion and repealing subsidies for health insurance coverage.

The White House warned that implementing such ideas would “devastate working families.”

The Biden administration released a fact sheet for every state and Washington, D.C., detailing how, under the Republicans’ proposal, millions of Americans would see higher premiums, lose coverage for preexisting conditions, lose protection against catastrophic medical bills, lose access to preventative care, and lose benefits due to the reintroduction of lifetime benefit caps that were removed by the law.

Conservatives have attacked the health care law since it was first proposed in Congress, and the law survived multiple Supreme Court challenges from the Republican Party. Republicans attempted to repeal the law in Congress multiple times, and an effort backed by Trump to do so nearly succeeded in 2017.

Since taking office in 2021, Biden — a longtime supporter of the law who was vice president when it passed — has enacted policies to increase the number of people with health insurance coverage using provisions in the Affordable Care Act.

His administration has promoted the annual signup period for health care exchanges and increased funding for health care navigators to help people enlist. Trump previously reduced the budget for promotion and navigators.

In January, the administration announced that enrollment in the exchanges had broken a record for the second year in a row, with 16.3 million Americans signing up for coverage through the laws health care exchanges during the 2022-2023 open enrollment season.

Biden also enacted a federal rule change to fix a “glitch” in the original legislation that allowed more people to get coverage.

Similarly, provisions of the American Rescue Plan, signed into law by Biden in March 2021, increased subsidies for plans under the health care law. The Inflation Reduction Act, which Biden signed in August 2022, extended those subsidies through 2025.

“All Americans deserve the peace of mind that if an illness strikes or an accident occurs they can get the care they need. That’s why I’m focused on protecting, strengthening, and building on the progress of the Affordable Care Act,” Biden wrote in a tweet on Thursday.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.


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