The Build Back Better framework will have an immensely positive impact on Americans, particularly when it comes to healthcare. Proposed in November 2021, the package is designed to bolster our nation’s resilience by improving health, social, and economic provisions across the country while working to help mitigate the changing climate. Though currently stalled in the Senate, passing the package will mean better, more-readily accessible healthcare coverage for Americans. Overall, the plan includes more than $1.7 trillion in investments to improve the way of life for all citizens.
If passed, the new law would mean significant improvements to the existing Medicaid and Medicare programs, including adding hearing care coverage for the first time and extending maternal postpartum coverage. It would also significantly reduce the cost of prescription drugs and lessen individuals’ share of the expenses for medical services. It also includes prevention tactics for drug price inflation and funding for future pandemic preparedness.
The framework also addresses the end of the subsidies that supported families during the 2021 pandemic special enrollment period. With those subsidies set to expire at the end of 2022, the Build Back Better Act keeps them in place for the future. Additionally, the Act adds several new enhancements to the tax credits established by the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, including a new regulation that no person has to spend more than 8.5 percent of their household income on medical premiums. The Act would ensure that people who make between 100 and 150 percent of the poverty level can receive basic silver-level coverage for the next three years. People with income up to 400 percent of the federal poverty level will see an increase in their premium subsidies. Anyone receiving unemployment will also maintain their premium subsidies through 2022.
If passed, it is expected to make health insurance a reality for an additional 3.4 million currently-uninsured people. Its desired effect on soaring drug prices could reduce the monthly cost of highly-prescribed drugs like insulin, potentially saving Medicare more than $78 billion and putting more money in the pockets of 9 in 10 older Americans who take prescription medications. Overall, Build Back Better would close a significant hole in the current healthcare system, which leaves millions uninsurable due to their low incomes. Once the legislation is in place, these Americans will be able to enroll in healthcare plans with very minimal out-of-pocket costs.
Studies indicate that greater access to healthcare saves lives, improves the quality of life, and reduces health disparities. The Build Back Better framework can bring affordable healthcare into the lives of many Americans who need it.