President digs at House Republicans, while GOP slams HHS leader over federal budget.
President Joe Biden announced record health insurance enrollment for the 13th anniversary of the Affordable Care Act (ACA).
The 2023 open enrollment period for ACA insurance drew almost 16.4 million people who selected or were automatically re-enrolled in health insurance through the HealthCare.gov marketplaces and state-based marketplaces (SBMs). The 2023 enrollment went up by 1.8 million people, or 13%, from the year before, and this year’s enrollment was up almost 4.4 million people, or 36%, from 2021, according to figures from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)
“As we celebrate the anniversary of the Affordable Care Act today, we have even more evidence that this law has lived up to its name, providing a way for Americans to access quality, affordable health coverage,” HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra said in a statement. “Thanks to President Biden’s leadership, more than 16 million Americans have health insurance through the Affordable Care Act Marketplaces – an all-time high. We will keep doing everything we can to ensure more people have the peace of mind that comes with high-quality health care.”
Becerra and U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Administrator Chiquita Brooks-LaSure emphasized results of ACA along with the American Rescue Plan (ARP) and Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), federal legislation with health care provisions among other measures the White House used to counter economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to the president’s administration, national estimates show consumers are saving an average of more than $800 a year for insurance premiums, due to subsidies in the ARP and IRA. Nationally, 4.6 million more people are receiving financial assistance in 2023 compared to 2021. In the health insurance marketplace, 92% of HealthCare.gov enrollees had access to plans from at least three insurance companies.
Overall between the ACA marketplaces and Medicaid expansion, 40.2 million people were enrolled in coverage, the highest total ever, based on 2022 and early 2023 enrollment data. The total figure was up 9.3 million from 2021 and up 27.6 million – more than triple the number – enrolled in 2014, according to the HHS announcement.
The same day, the White House published 51 state and territory fact sheets to spell out “Devastating Consequences of MAGA House Republican Plans to Gut Medicaid and the Affordable Are Act.” It was a reference to the “Make America Great Again” slogan used by Biden’s predecessor, President Donald J. Trump.
The administration said the fact sheets show “Congressional Republicans’ reported proposals will raise premiums and health care costs, threaten health care for Americans with pre-existing health conditions, slash protections against catastrophic medical bills, and will balloon waitlists for quality care for seniors and people with disabilities.”
For example, in Alabama, the first state listed, repealing ACA and gutting Medicaid would lead to insurance premium increases averaging $8,100 for 245,000 people. Up to 342,000 Alabama residents would lose protection against catastrophic medical bills, and 258,000 people with ACA marketplace coverage for 2023, would risk losing it, according to the White House.
Becerra was in the Senate on March 22 to testify about elements dealing with HHS in the president’s 2024 budget. In his statement, Sen. Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), ranking member of the Senate Finance Committee, did not mention the ACA specifically. But he criticized drug price controls, drug shortages, and financial effects on Medicare and Medicaid. A response on the Republican National Committee’s website said Becerra “is a disaster as HHS secretary.”