WASHINGTON (AP) – US President Joe Biden turned to his former boss, former President Barack Obama, on Saturday for help in encouraging people to sign up for the Affordable Care Act health care coverage during a special enrollment period that was extended in the coronavirus pandemic.
Biden used his weekly address to deliver a conversation he had via Zoom with Obama to draw attention to the extended six-month enrollment period ending Aug. 15. Meanwhile, the government released a report that nearly 31 million Americans – a record number – now have health coverage through the Affordable Care Act, also known as “Obamacare.”
“We did this together,” said Obama, whose administration established the health insurance market. “We have always talked about how if we could establish the principle of universal coverage, then we could build on it.”
The White House’s efforts to highlight the extended enrollment period and declare solid numbers for the health law come as the political spectrum and the healthcare system await the Supreme Court ruling on the law’s constitutionality. . The meeting by Zoom was recorded on Friday afternoon and published on Saturday as Biden’s weekly address.
The Department of Health and Human Services noted in a report that nearly 31 million Americans have obtained health coverage in 2021 as a result of the law. That with respect to the estimate of more than 20 million people that is usually cited.
The Biden administration has launched a special enrollment period during the pandemic, and Congress approved a sizable increase in subsidies for private health plans sold under the law. But this alone does not explain the increase in coverage.
The report indicates that 11.3 million people are covered through the health law markets, where subsidized private plans are offered. An additional 14.8 million people are covered through Medicaid, the medical assistance program for the low-income or disabled population, the report added. All but a dozen states have accepted the expansion of Medicaid, which provides care primarily to low-income adults.