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.
It's important to note that the following guidelines only apply to residents of the 36 states hosted via HC.gov. The timing, policy and procedures for the new/expanded subsidies for residents of the 15 states which operate their own ACA exchanges may vary.
My biggest takeaway from the press releases below is that everyone will be made whole (that is, those eligible for additional subsidies or newly-eligible for subsidies at all will receive them in full), but that it may take anywhere from a few weeks to several months for that to happen, so cool your jets.
Covered California Hails the Signing of the American Rescue Plan Which Will Benefit Millions
SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Covered California’s executive director, Peter V. Lee, issued this statement following President Joe Biden’s signing of the American Rescue Plan. The landmark legislation provides new financial help to people who receive their health insurance through Affordable Care Act marketplaces like Covered California. The measure will lower health care costs by providing new and expanded subsidies to more Americans than ever before.
In early February, I posted a deep dive into HR 369, the Health Care Affordability Act, and how it would reduce net ACA premiums by permanently eliminating the income "subsidy eligibility cliff" (#KillTheCliff) and making the underlying subsidy formula more generous for all enrollees (#UpTheSubs).
I'm re-posting an updated, modified version of this analysis for two reasons:
First, because HR 1319, the American Rescue Plan, is about to actually pass and be signed into law, with a slightly different formula from HR 369 embedded within it (if only for two years).
Second, because my earlier analysis also threw in two other subsidy enhancement tables which confused the issue (California's state-based subsidies, and the predecessor to HR 369, both of which are/were less generous)
In this version I'm using the actual Advanced Premium Tax Credit (APTC) table under the American Rescue Plan, and I'm cutting out all references to the other two tables to avoid confusion.
This afternoon, the Congressional Budget Office released their 10-year "score" report of the largest single chunk of the House Democrats version of the American Rescue Plan from the Ways & Means Committee:
S. Con. Res. 5, the Concurrent Resolution on the Budget for Fiscal Year 2021, instructed several committees of the House of Representatives to recommend legislative changes that would increase deficits up to a specified amount over the 2021-2030 period. As part of this reconciliation process, the House Committee on Ways and Means approved legislation on February 10 and 11, 2021, with a number of provisions that would increase deficits. The legislation would extend unemployment benefits, establish a pandemic emergency fund, increase subsidies for health insurance, provide cash payments to eligible people, expand several tax credits, and modify rules for pensions, among other provisions designed to mitigate the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic caused by the coronavirus.
The Ways and Means’ proposals comprise half of the $1.9 trillion Democratic COVID-19 relief package
SPRINGFIELD, MA – Today, House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard E. Neal (D-MA) announced the Committee will consider nine legislative proposals under the budget reconciliation instructions this week as the next step in delivering COVID-19 relief to the American people. Beginning on Wednesday, February 10, 2021 at 10:00 a.m. through Friday, February 12, 2021, the Committee will markup proposals spanning from extending unemployment insurance to expanding the child tax credit to delivering another round of direct assistance to struggling Americans.
Roughly two to three million people lost employer sponsored health insurance between March and September, and even families who have maintained coverage may struggle to pay premiums and afford care. Further, going into this crisis, 30 million people were without coverage, limiting their access to the health care system in the middle of a pandemic. To ensure access to health coverage, President-elect Biden is calling on Congress to subsidize continuation health coverage (COBRA) through the end of September. He is also asking Congress to expand and increase the value of the Premium Tax Credit to lower or eliminate health insurance premiums and ensure enrollees - including those who never had coverage through their jobs - will not pay more than 8.5 percent of their income for coverage.
Together, these policies would reduce premiums for more than ten million people and reduce the ranks of the uninsured by millions more.
Note: This is the second or third time that I'm cribbing a bit from my friend & colleague Andrew Sprung over at Xpostfactoid. If you like my healthcare policy analysis/writing style and follow me on Twitter, you should follow him at @xpostfactoid as well.
During the Democratic primary season, I posted a simple graph which boiled down the four major types of healthcare policy overhaul favored by the various Democratic Presidential candidates...which also largely cover the gamut of systems preferred by various Democratic members of the House and Senate.