‘Obamacare’ battles heat up in 2024 race as Biden and Trump clash over funding

President Joe Biden on Tuesday called for an extension of funding increases under the Affordable Care Act that will expire after 2025, underscoring one of the immediate health care policy implications of the upcoming election.

The president boasted that he made the ACA also known as “Obamacare” stronger than ever by signing into law the enhanced grants under the American Rescue Plan and the Inflation Reduction Act. That helped push ACA enrollment to a record high of 45 million people, according to government figures.

I created tax credits to save an average of $800 per person per year, reducing health care premiums for millions of working families under the ACA. Those tax credits expire next year, Biden said during a campaign event in North Carolina. I am asking Congress to make that $800 extended health care tax credit permanent. Otherwise, millions of Americans with coverage may lose coverage.

The winner in November will have a big say in whether that money is extended. Biden sees it as a legacy that must be protected. His Republican rival, Donald Trump, who opposes the ACA, has never talked about that funding or offered an alternative to health care.

Asked how he would handle those subsidies, Trump campaign spokeswoman Caroline Leavitt said Tuesday that he is running to make health care truly affordable, in addition to lowering inflation, lowering taxes and reducing rules to put more money in the pockets of all Americans. who have been robbed by Joe Bidens disastrous economic policies.

The ACA, signed into law by President Barack Obama in March 2010, includes tax subsidies for people up to 400% of the federal poverty level to get coverage. In 2021, Biden and the Democratic-controlled Congress added a provision that helps people above that level, capping premiums at 8.5% of individual income. This policy has helped millions of people purchase insurance and lowered premiums for others who already had it. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office has previously estimated that the cap costs about $25 billion a year.

Biden noted on Tuesday that there was not a single Republican in Congress who voted for the American Rescue Plan, which established enhanced funding for two years, or the Anti-Inflation Act, which extended it for three years. Republicans oppose the provision of most domestic spending in these two measures.

In North Carolina, Biden told a crowd of supporters to think that if Trump and the Republicans win, they will dominate the fight against the ACA.

Trump and his MAGA friends in Congress want to end the ACA and kick these Americans out of their health insurance. He is sick. Now they want, to quote him, to end the ACA, as my predecessor said. When that happens, marriage also ends many lives, said Biden. But they wouldn’t let that happen.

Trump has fought during his four years in office to roll back the ACA through executive action, legislation and the courts. He succeeded in reducing the penalty for failing to manage insurance, but failed to repeal insurance regulations and subsidies.

In November 2023, as president, Trump renewed his calls to repeal the ACA, criticizing Republicans who voted not to repeal it in 2017 when the party crossed over to Congress. It was a low point for the Republican Party, but we should never give up! he wrote at the time on the social networking site Truth Social. A few days later, after backtracking, Trump doubled down, saying: I don’t want to cut Obamacare, I want to REPAIR IT WITH MUCH BETTER CARE. Obamacare is amazing!!!

Before Bidens speech on Tuesday, Trump aimed at his rival: I am not running to end the ACA, AS JOE BUDEN IS INTERRUPTING AND THEY ARE ALL THE TIME, he wrote on social media, adding in all caps that he wants to do the ACA, or Obamacare , as it is known, is the best, most powerful, and least expensive.

Trump has never offered a plan to do that, and his campaign didn’t outline one when asked. His party has struggled to come up with health care proposals that preserve the ACAs benefits including protections for pre-existing conditions and tax credits that increase coverage at lower costs.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., who fought for years to end the ACA, said this month that Trump must present his case if he wants Republicans to reopen the issue.

We had a big fight over that a few years ago, McConnell told reporters on March 12. And if he can build a foundation to revisit that issue, obviously we’re going to look at it. But it seems to me that that’s pretty much over.

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