03.10.2021 / Statement
Statement: Finally, a Full-Throated Federal Response to COVID-19: A Sigh of Relief from Families as Congress Passes Long-Overdue Bill
Washington, D.C. – Frederick Isasi, Executive Director of Families USA, issued the following statement on the passage of the American Rescue Plan.
“With the passage of the American Rescue Plan, the Biden Administration and Congress are delivering on their commitment to end the COVID crisis — to protect the health and economic security of families and get our economy going again. Importantly, the package provides the resources and authority to ensure our nation has a nationally coordinated and comprehensive response to end the COVID pandemic.
An overwhelming majority of the American public supports this plan, whether Democrat, Republican or somewhere in between. It is clear that now more than ever, people want action on health care — particularly when it comes to affordability — and this plan delivers.
This bill provides the biggest investment in affordable health insurance coverage in a decade. It reduces health care premiums for low- and middle-income families by increasing the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) premium tax credits for 2021 and 2022. And it helps laid-off workers who have been hit very hard by pandemic-related job cuts to stay connected to coverage, either through their former employer’s health plan via the COBRA health insurance program or through financial assistance that lets them buy affordable insurance in the individual market.
Other critical components of the bill include giving states powerful new financial incentives to extend Medicaid to low-income, working adults—many of whom are essential or frontline workers who have been disproportionately affected by the pandemic; and 100% federal funding to provide uninsured residents with testing, treatment, and vaccines. In addition, it provides $350 billion in fiscal relief to states, territories, tribes, and local governments to support the safety net, keeping first responders, frontline health workers, and other providers of vital services safely on the job. Another vital provision is a significant increase in the federal funding states can use to provide home- and community-based services for people with disabilities and seniors. With too many states capping access to these services and with safety issues in nursing home care made all too clear, this is a timely and targeted step.
The new law also helps families and children by expanding the Earned Income Tax Credit and Child Tax Credit and investing in child care support, nutrition services, schools, mental health services, and housing and utility assistance. All told, it is projected that this landmark legislation will lift more than 15 million families out of poverty, including slashing the number of children living below poverty by a startling sixty percent.
Notably, the passage of this bill comes on the heels of last night’s announcement from the U.S. Department of Justice that the Biden Administration will stop pursuing Trump-era draconian public charge regulations, reiterating their commitment to helping all families safely access health care and support services in a time they need it the most.
These critical developments are a significant step in the right direction to ensuring families get the health and health care they need and deserve, states can safely reopen, and the economy is revived.”