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Heritage Action for America Executive Director Jessica Anderson told Breitbart News in an exclusive statement on Friday that the left is “playing politics” with Americans’ health care by trying to hide the “true cost” of Obamacare.
Anderson spoke to Breitbart News as reports suggest President Joe Biden and congressional Democrats face a ticking “time-bomb” in the form of expiring enhanced Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, subsidies.
Last year, Biden and his Democrat majorities passed the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan, the Democrats’ coronavirus aid bill. The bill, among other things, enhanced Obamacare subsidies beyond the ACA’s threshold for subsidies, or 400 percent of the poverty line. However, the enhanced subsidies are set to expire as Democrats have yet to pass another reconciliation bill, which can be passed along party lines, to continue funding the American Rescue Plan provision.
Given that Democrats do not appear to be close to passing a reconciliation bill with a provision extending the enhanced Obamacare subsidies, roughly 13 million Americans could get hit with higher premiums in late October, right before the pivotal 2022 congressional midterms.
Charles Gaba, a healthcare policy analyst, told Business Insider, “There’s no denying that if they are not extended, then there could definitely be a political impact.”
“If Congress lets the ACA premium help in the American Rescue Plan expire at the end of this year, middle-class people buying their own insurance would be hit hardest,” Larry Levitt, vice president for health policy at the Kaiser Family Foundation, wrote in a tweet. “They could face a double whammy of inflation and the loss of premium assistance, costing thousands of dollars.
Anderson blamed the left for setting up an untenable situation that will only make Americans’ lives worse as many families continue to suffer from inflation.
“The Left is once again playing politics with Americans’ health care and livelihoods in an election year. This time, they are trying to buy off voters right before midterms and cover up the true cost of their failed health care policies. The American people are already suffering from historic inflation, and the Left’s answer is to just keep pumping money into the economy,” she said. “Their cynical move won’t work. The American people want leaders who will provide more choices in health care, remove mandates that prevent doctors and patients from working together, and will reform federal health care programs to make them more effective while saving taxpayer dollars.”
Brian Blase, who served as a special assistant to Donald Trump for economic policy at the National Economic Council, explained in an op-ed this week why Congress should let the Obamacare subsidies from the American Rescue Plan expire.
- The expanded subsidies were meant to be temporary relief for the coronavirus pandemic, not a permanent extension of the ACA
- Continuing the expanded subsidies would lead to higher healthcare care prices and premiums
- The expanded subsidies would lead to loss of employer health insurance coverage
- The federal budget cost of the subsidies would only continue as employers drop employees’ coverage
- The subsidies are an inefficient way of spending taxpayer dollars
- Current healthcare obligations such as Medicare, Medicaid, and Obamacare already remain untenable portions of the federal budget
- Continuing the subsidies would provide an “unfair benefit for wealthy households
- Expanded subsidies would “mostly benefit” insurers
- The extended subsidies would reduce work and economic output
Blase concluded his piece, noting that the enhanced Obamacare subsidies would only attempt to paper over the systemic problems with the Affordable Care Act (ACA). He said that Congress has to reform the ACA’s regulatory structure, which has only limited Americans’ healthcare options and lowered the quality of health insurance.
The former Trump administration official wrote, “Congress needs to also reform the inherently flawed subsidy structure that wastes so much taxpayer money. These reforms could build on Trump administration actions that expanded options and better targeted taxpayer dollars to those who most needed them.”
He added, “Papering over Obamacare’s problems with additional taxpayer dollars is exactly the wrong approach and reduces Congress’s appetite for actual reforms.”
Sean Moran is a congressional reporter for Breitbart News. Follow him on Twitter @SeanMoran3