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Government & Politics

President Biden Touts More Affordable Health Care During Columbus Visit

President Joe Biden speaks after a tour of the James Cancer Hospital and Solove Research Institute at The Ohio State University, Tuesday, March 23, 2021, in Columbus.
Evan Vucci
/
AP
President Joe Biden speaks after a tour of the James Cancer Hospital and Solove Research Institute at The Ohio State University, Tuesday, March 23, 2021, in Columbus.

President Joe Biden emphasized the local impact of his nearly $2 trillion American Rescue Plan in Columbus Tuesday. 

Biden’s first Columbus visit since the election comes on the anniversary of the Affordable Care Act taking effect. At Ohio State's James Cancer Hospital, Biden highlighted how the law known as Obamacare reduced the number of uninsured Ohioans, and talked up additional benefits coming through the latest COVID-19 relief measure.

“For a 60-year-old couple here in Ohio earning $75,000 per year, this could save them about $1,000 per month and to maintain the same health care,” Biden says. “That's $12,000 a year in your pocket that you didn't have before."

Those subsidies sunset at the end of 2022, but congressional Democrats have already hinted at plans to maintain them.

Under the measure, individuals earning up to about $19,000 a year are eligible for marketplace plans through HealthCare.gov at no cost. That amount is one-and-a half times the federal poverty line, but partial subsidies are also available for people making up to four times the poverty rate. Prior to the American Rescue Plan, all subsidies—even at the poverty line—required some amount of premium payment.

Biden also says that, by the end of the year, he’ll ask Congress to fund a new health research agency modeled on DARPA, the Defense Department outfit that helped develop the internet. He described “a new effort called ARPA-H to deliver health breakthroughs to find cures for cancer and other diseases by investing billions of dollars that companies are not willing to do, don’t have the capacity.”

After meeting an initial goal early to administer 100 million coronavirus vaccine shots within his first 100 days in office, Biden said he’d release a new set of goals this week.

“Get vaccinated when it’s your turn,” Biden said, leaning over the lectern. “It’s a patriotic responsibility that you have. Now is not the time to let down our guard.”

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