Since its start back in 2010, the Affordable Care Act (also called Obamacare) has been providing affordable healthcare options for millions of Americans. In 2023 alone, nearly 16 million people used the platform to secure health insurance. However, the program experienced a number of changes during the Donald Trump administration. Now that Joe Biden is in office, you may be wondering what changes are coming to the country’s healthcare plans.
This article will cover everything you need to know about the latest program—Bidencare, including pricing, tax credits, insurance options, and how it affects those currently signed up through the ACA.
What is Obamacare?
During his time in office, President Obama initiated a massive healthcare reform known today as Obamacare.
Looking at the tens of millions of uninsured Americans, President Obama and his vice president Joe Biden initiated the Affordable Care Act, which is still in effect today.
In his efforts to increase affordable, quality healthcare coverage, a number of changes, including:
- Allowing children to stay on their parent’s insurance plans until 26 years
- Subsidizing health insurance costs for families and individuals through the Healthcare Marketplace
- Giving tax breaks to small businesses that offer group health insurance
- Mandating large businesses to provide insurance options for employees
- Expanding Medicaid to include millions more Americans
- Mandating health insurance for all Americans (either through federally funded or private insurance)
- Prevented companies from dropping or denying those with preexisting conditions
- Required most insurance carriers to provide 10 essential health services, such as mental health and prescription drug coverage
Data from the Kaiser Family Foundation showed that Obamacare reached part of its goals as the number of uninsured Americans decreased from 46.5 million to under 27 million between 2010 and 2016.
A more thorough list of Obamacare’s impact can be found here.
Repeals And The Trump Administration
From the beginning, Obamacare was widely controversial and set off a number of state and federal appeals. The division centered around the healthcare mandate, which Republicans viewed as overbearing and an unrealistic expense for business owners. Ultimately, the Supreme Court upheld the ACA, deeming it fully constitutional.
However, our new President set out to repeal the mandate during the Trump administration. While the Affordable Care Act is still mostly intact, the penalty for not having insurance was removed, and increased tax cuts were given to the people.
During his time in office, Trump also worked to cut back Medicaid.
Bidencare: The New Obamacare?
Joe Biden’s plan to protect and build Obamacare was announced at the October 22nd Presidential debate. His mission is to once again lower healthcare costs and expand coverage options to the public.
Here are some of the program highlights :
- Keep the Affordable Care Act in place and expand it to give more families subsidies on their coverage and implement lower premium caps
- Continue working on the Medicaid expansion to bring it to more states
- Keep current protections for those with preexisting conditions
- Add a public option that resembles Medicare for non-Medicare-eligible families and individuals
- Give Medicare the ability to negotiate drug prices
- Get rid of surprise billing associated with accidental out-of-network services
- Break up big healthcare corporations that monopolize parts of the industry
- Reduce tax breaks for pharmaceutical companies’ advertising budgets
- Restore federal funding to Planned Parenthood
- Repeal the global gag rule (Mexico City Policy) that prevents the US from supporting healthcare efforts in developing countries
Note: Although the Biden administration is associated with Bernie Sanders’s term Medicare for all, his plan does not actually offer Medicare coverage to everyone. Rather, this public option is intended to negotiate with healthcare providers to lower costs. This feature was originally part of the Affordable Care Act but was cut before the law was enacted.
What Will It Cost?
Biden’s new plan is estimated to cost approximately 750 billion over the next decade. Where is the money coming from, you may ask? This hefty program is intended to be funded by increased taxes, especially among the top bracket by increased taxes.
President Biden will be undoing the tax breaks given to the top tax brackets during the Trump administration. Similarly, there are plans to eliminate the 20% long-term capital gains tax, which topped $127 billion in 2019 alone.
Who is Eligible?
Because Biden intends to expand the benefits of Obamacare, eligibility will also expand to help more Americans access affordable health coverage. According to the US Department of Health and Human Services, the 2022-2023 enrollment window saw 4 out of 5 customers eligible for coverage at just $10 or less.
Although there are no concrete guidelines yet, President Biden has said that over 97% of Americans will enjoy coverage through his Medicare-like public option in the coming year.
How Do I Apply For Bidencare?
Bidencare will continue to operate the Health Insurance Marketplace, including the enrollment process. Applicants can view and enroll in new health insurance policies during the annual open enrollment window, which runs from November 1-January 15.
Visit www.healthcare.gov for more information.
You may also qualify for a special enrollment period for certain qualifying life events, such as a divorce, loss of job, birth, death, etc.
Affordable Coverage For All
While Bidencare might sound like an entirely new entity, it’s actually intended to protect and build on the previously established Affordable Care Act (Obamacare). Much of Biden’s intentions are to not only reestablish components of Obamacare but to expand them further. Enrollment is still available through the Marketplace and is expected to cover 97% of Americans. Stay tuned for concrete eligibility data and future updates on this innovative healthcare reform.
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