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Biden admin tries to fix Obamacare ‘family problem’ and expand coverage

Biden administration officials are expected to unveil the proposed settlement ahead of a celebration of the landmark 2010 health care law that will also mark former President Barack Obama’s return to the White House for the first time since leaving. its functions.

Obama, alongside President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris, is expected to tout the ACA’s coverage gains and the administration’s broader efforts to reduce health care costs.

During its rollout on Tuesday, the administration will highlight its new offer to solve the family problem as the biggest administrative action to expand ACA coverage since the law was enacted, a person familiar with the law said. question. Still, the proposed regulations could take months to finalize.

Last year, Democrats also expanded eligibility for ACA grants as part of the passage of the US rescue plan, and registrations through the law’s insurance exchanges reached 14.5 million last year, a record. Those expanded grants are due to expire later this year, raising concerns within the party that millions could be hit with higher health care costs just as the midterm elections come around.

The White House declined to comment.

Democrats and health advocacy groups have long called for a solution to the family problem, which has excluded some Americans from subsidized coverage due to the complex way the federal government determines the eligibility of family members of workers who have access to employer health plans.

Under the ACA, people are eligible for subsidized health insurance if the cost of their employer coverage exceeds a set percentage of their household income.

But the Obama administration initially interpreted this provision as applying to the premium charged to an individual – even if that person’s spouse and children would be covered by the plan, which would increase its overall cost.

Health law experts have since argued that the law could be reinterpreted to incorporate the added cost of additional family members. The administration began work last year on changes to the law, culminating in the proposed rule that authorized regulatory review of the OMB in late March.

The vast majority of those affected by the problem would pay less for ACA coverage than their workplace plan if the loophole were closed, the Kaiser Family Foundation estimates.

“Fixing the family issue is the most consequential thing they can do without Congress to improve the affordability of ACA coverage,” said Larry Levitt, KFF executive vice president for health policy.


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