The state of our health care
Biden highlighted health care achievements in his State of the Union. But there is more to do.
U.S. President Joe Biden delivers the State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress as Vice President Kamala Harris and House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) listen on Feb. 7, 2023, in the House Chamber of the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C. The speech marks Biden’s first address to the new Republican-controlled House. (Jacquelyn Martin-Pool/Getty Images)
The state of our health care is improving, but as President Joe Biden might say, we need to “finish the job!”
In his State of the Union speech, Biden recounted the significant list of America’s health care accomplishments under his administration.
Here are some highlights:
More Americans have health insurance than ever. A record-setting 16.3 million people signed up for health insurance coverage through the Affordable Care Act this year, and the uninsured rate of Americans hit an all-time low last year.
The Inflation Reduction Act has made Obamacare health insurance premiums cheaper than ever for millions of us, and that has helped drive record health insurance sign-ups. People saved an average of $800 a year thanks to Congress and Biden. Premiums are capped at 8.5% of your income, which means many more middle class families now qualify for a helping hand.
More people have insurance now because the Biden administration closed the “family glitch” loophole, which blocked many children and spouses from affordable health insurance coverage. The administration has fully funded outreach programs to help many more Americans sign up for health insurance also.
Sixty million Americans on Medicare are saving on their medications. The Inflation Reduction Act makes health insurance more affordable and also lowers the cost of prescriptions for people on Medicare. There is a new $35 per month copay cap for insulin through Medicare, saving money for Americans with diabetes across the country. Had this law been in effect in 2020, 1.5 million people would have each saved, on average, $500 per year.
Thanks to the IRA, more adult vaccines are available without co-pays under Medicare. Seniors can save up to $200 or more on their shingles shots, and then save even more on prescriptions with new protections from Big Pharma’s artificial price hikes.
More benefits are coming soon, such as a $2,000 annual prescription drug out of pocket cap for seniors on Medicare in 2025, and Medicare will begin negotiating the price of prescription drugs in 2026.
Despite the overwhelming popularity of health care expansion (a winning issue in bipartisan public opinion polls in those states), conservative state legislators refuse to act.
Over 10 million Americans are protected from surprise medical bills. The White House has also implemented the No Surprises Act, which has prevented 1 million unfair, undeserved out-of-network charges every month.
Millions of Americans have gained access to affordable health care through Medicaid expansion in their states. Missouri, Oklahoma, and South Dakota are the most recent states to expand Medicaid to hundreds of thousands of low-income adults previously locked out of health care coverage.
However, there is much more to do.
The provisions of the Inflation Reduction Act that make health insurance premiums more affordable expire after 2025. Biden called for Congress to make those subsidies permanent.
Eleven states have failed to expand health insurance to their neediest working families — including Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kansas, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Wisconsin and Wyoming. In fact the Wyoming legislature just killed a Medicaid expansion bill this week.
Despite the overwhelming popularity of health care expansion (a winning issue in bipartisan public opinion polls in those states), conservative state legislators refuse to act. Biden also called on Congress to expand Medicaid to low-income Americans.
The Inflation Reduction Act caps insulin co-pays for Americans on Medicare. Biden called for Congress to expand this to everyone.
And finally, the president called on Congress to restore our rights and codify Roe v. Wade to protect women’s reproductive health care and abortion care.
It is time to finish the job, and keep working until every American has the health care they need and deserve.
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