Washington — Former President Barack Obama has returned to the White House for the first time since leaving office for an event marking the 12th anniversary of his signature health care law as the Biden administration takes steps aimed at lowering costs for families needing coverage.
Obama is appearing with President Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris Tuesday to speak about the Affordable Care Act (ACA), which he signed into law in 2010. The law, also known as Obamacare, expanded access to health insurance for millions of Americans. The event coincides with new actions the Biden administration announced to fix what’s become known as the «family glitch» in the ACA.
«It feels good, doesn’t it?» Harris said, smiling as she stood alongside the former president and the current president.
Under current law, families are only eligible for health insurance through the ACA’s marketplace if they would be forced to spend more than about 10% of their income on coverage through their employer or other programs. But if an employee’s cost exceeds 10% when family members are added to an insurance plan, the family is still viewed as having affordable coverage and ineligible for subsidized coverage under the ACA.
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, 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 pay for it. According to the official, Mr. Biden will sign an executive order directing agencies to do everything within their power to make health care more accessible and affordable.
Enrollment in ACA-subsidized plans spiked during the COVID-19 pandemic, with a record 14.5 million Americans signing up for coverage in 2021. But more generous financial aid for coverage that was included in COVID-19 relief bills is set to expire by the end of this year, and Mr. Biden’s efforts to boost coverage through his social spending legislation have stalled in Congress.