Biden administration aims to fix «family glitch» in Affordable Care Act and bring health care coverage to more Americans


Washington — The Biden administration is taking action Tuesday designed to fix what’s become known as the «family glitch» in the Affordable Care Act (ACA), the nation’s health care law. 

Under the current law, families may only obtain health insurance through the ACA’s marketplace if they would be forced to spend more than about 10% of their income through their employers or other programs. But if an employee’s cost is under 10% of income for individual coverage and only exceeds 10% when family members are added to the insurance plan, the family is still viewed under the law as having affordable coverage.

A new rule proposed by the Treasury Department would enable family members who must pay more than 10% of their income for health care coverage to get financial help under the ACA, according to a senior Biden administration official. 

«As a result, 200,000 uninsured people are expected to gain coverage and nearly a million more are expected to see lower premiums every day,» the official told reporters on a background call.

The rule wouldn’t go into effect until January 2023, and the official couldn’t say how much it will cost the government to fix the so-called «family glitch» or how the government would be paid for it. According to the official, President Biden will sign an executive order directing agencies to do everything within their power to make health care more accessible and affordable. 

The proposed update to the health care law coincides with former President Barack Obama’s  to the White House Tuesday to celebrate the ACA’s passage, his signature law that passed 12 years ago. The event will mark Obama’s first joint visit with President Biden, who was his vice president.

Obama, 60, tested positive for COVID-19 in March, but said he felt fine other than a scratchy throat for a couple days. He is vaccinated and boosted, and encouraged others to do the same. 

Obama, who attended Mr. Biden’s January 2021 inauguration, has largely avoided publicly commenting on his former vice president’s time in office. 



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