Again, here's what the subsidy tables look like under the ACA itself and under the American Rescue Plan. The premium caps are the maximum percent of household income which a household has to pay for the benchmark Silver plan at various income ranges:
For years now, I've been a tireless advocate for dramatically expanding & improving the Affordable Care Act's Advance Premium Tax Credit (APTC) formula. This is the table which determines a) just how generous the ACA's health insurance premium tax credits are at different income levels and b) how far up the income ladder those financial subsidies extend.
Just over a year ago, the American Rescue Plan (ARP), passed by Democrats in Congress and signed into law by President Biden, did exactly what I've been clamouring for all this time: It made ACA subsidies far more generous while also removing the completely arbitrary income eligibility cut-off threshold (otherwise known as the "Subsidy Cliff."
As a refresher, the way the ACA subsidies work is as follows:
As expected, the healthcare section of President Biden's first address to a joint session of Congress (technically not a State of the Union, but close enough) included a call for making the subsidies expanded under the American Rescue Plan permanent as part of the American Families Plan.
Also as expected, he did not call for other major healthcare reform priorities to be baked into the #AmFamPlan.
He did, however, spend significant time calling for those other priorities to be passed separately from the AFP...considerably more than he did on the subsidies themselves.
Before I get into the proposed healthcare policies: Early on in the speech, Biden gave a shout-out to his Administration for the success of the current, ongoing COVID Special Enrollment Period:
After weeks of anticipation and jockeying for policy priorities to be included by various advocacy groups, President Biden is set to formally roll out the American Families Plan at a speech to a joint session of Congress this evening...the first such speech of his administration, falling just ahead of his 100th day in office.
The first half of Biden's larger "American Infrastructure Plan" is the "American Jobs Plan" which addresses "hard" infrastructure like road & bridge construction/repairs, green energy investment, broadband access, overhauling our clean water system and so forth.
The Urban Institute has come out with a brand-new analysis which projects the impact of making the ACA subsidies which have been expanded & enhanced temporarily under the American Rescue Plan permanent. In other words, this is what they expect the real-world impact would be if Congress were to finally #KillTheCliff and #UpTheSubs permanently (as opposed to for just 2021 - 2022), as I and other healthcare activists been pushing for for years now.
So, the American Rescue Plan includes two important provisions whch I've been fighting for for years: #KillTheCliff and #UpTheSubs. The only downside is that, for now at least, these ACA enhancements are only included for two years (including 2021...the beefed-up & expanded subsidies are retroactive to January 1st of this year).
As a reminder (this is like the 20th time I've posted a table like this), here's the official ACA subsidy formula compared to the improved formula under the American Rescue Plan (ARP):
Note: The Federal Poverty Level (FPL) is 15% higher per household in Hawaii and 25% higher in Alaska.
When the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan (ARP) achieved final passage on March 10th, it did so almost exclusively along party lines. I say "almost" because there was a single Democratic House member who voted against it: Representative Jared Golden (ME-02).
I fully understand the tightrope that some swing district Dems have to walk. To his credit, Rep. Golden voted to impeach Donald Trump not once, but twice (though he only voted in favor of one of the 2 articles of impeachment against him the first time around). I certainly don't expect every single Democrat to vote the party line on every single bill.
In the end, the bill passed anyway, if only by a handful of votes; my guess is that he even received Speaker Pelosi's unofficial blessing to vote against it, as long as she knew for sure it would pass regardless.