Home National news Biden and Harris fight back against House Republicans’ budget threatening health care

Biden and Harris fight back against House Republicans’ budget threatening health care

(photo courtesy of <iStockphoto/NNPA>)

Resolute in their stand against the recent budget proposal by House Republicans, President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris are intensifying their efforts to lower healthcare costs and safeguard crucial provisions of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), Medicaid, and Medicare. In a Fact Sheet, the White House noted that Biden and Harris underscored the administration’s commitment during a visit to North Carolina, where they outlined a comprehensive strategy to make health care more affordable for all Americans.

“The draconian measures in the Republican budget, which the Republican Study Committee created and which the House Republican leadership supported, have alarmed people because they could destroy crucial health care programs,” administration officials said. Among its provisions, the budget seeks to slash a staggering $4.5 trillion from the ACA, Medicaid, and the Children’s Health Insurance Program, potentially leaving millions of Americans without access to essential health coverage.

Key aspects of the Republican budget include eliminating funding for the ACA’s Marketplace and Medicaid expansion, jeopardizing coverage for over 45 million individuals. Furthermore, the proposed transformation of Medicaid into block grants “could imperil the health care of an additional 60 million Americans, leading to increased difficulty in qualifying for coverage and potential cuts to critical benefits,” officials said.

The budget threatens the well-being of seniors and individuals with disabilities by proposing cuts to Medicaid home care services and nursing home payments, which could result in diminished care quality and longer waitlists for essential services.

In addition to dismantling crucial consumer protections established by the ACA, such as coverage for pre-existing conditions and prohibitions against insurance company abuses, officials said the Republican budget would also convert Medicare into a “premium support” program, potentially raising premiums for millions of seniors and exacerbating prescription drug costs.

“Contrary to this regressive agenda, President Biden and Vice President Harris are staunch advocates for expanding access to affordable health care,” officials said. “Under their leadership, a record-breaking 21 million Americans have enrolled in ACA coverage this year, marking a significant milestone in the ongoing effort to extend health care to more citizens.”

The White House argued that the administration’s initiatives have yielded tangible benefits, including average annual savings of $800 per individual on health insurance premiums. They claimed that the passage of the Inflation Reduction Act, which Biden championed, has given Medicare the authority to negotiate lower prescription drug costs, ensuring that seniors and people with disabilities can access affordable medications.

Biden and Harris insisted they are committed to further lowering healthcare costs and enhancing coverage for all Americans. Their proposed measures include:

  • Making premium tax credits permanent
  • Expanding Medicaid coverage in states that have not adopted expansion
  • Investing in home care services to address waitlists for older adults and individuals with disabilities

White House officials said the president and vice president’s agenda prioritizes mental health care access, consumer protection against surprise medical bills, and crackdowns on unwarranted fees in health care services. By advocating for Medicare to negotiate drug prices for at least 50 drugs annually and capping out-of-pocket prescription drug costs, the administration aims to alleviate financial burdens on individuals while safeguarding the integrity of health care programs.

In contrast to the Republican budget’s assault on health care, officials asserted that Biden and Harris remain steadfast in their commitment to protecting and strengthening vital health care programs for generations to come.

“By ensuring that the wealthy contribute their fair share and dedicating savings from Medicare reforms to the program’s sustainability, they seek to uphold the fundamental right to accessible and affordable health care for all Americans,” officials said.

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