In addition to unemployment benefits and economic stimulus measures, the $1.9 trillion Covid-19 relief bill being voted on in the Senate this weekend has a massive expansion of the Affordable Care Act.
Although it is a one-time relief package, the bill increases subsidies for health insurance premiums, and that portion of the bill is not likely to be temporary, as it is an expansion of the ACA.
The bill lifts the income limits on the subsidization of premiums, which will be now 400 percent of the federal poverty line.
Those in households that are at 150 percent of the federal poverty line will now qualify for Medicaid. Under the existing law, Medicaid expansion is for those at under 138 percent of the poverty line who don’t have insurance through their employers, as they are not likely to be able to afford private health insurance.
A single person with an income of $60,000 income could see subsidies more than double for their health insurance.
Insurance premiums are set to skyrocket in 2023, something this amendment of the bill is anticipating and trying to mitigate with the expansion of the subsidies and tax rebates for those with private insurance.
The bill also has incentives for those states that have not expanded Obamacare. Although 37 states adopted the expanded ACA, including Alaska, the relief package being voted on has more attractive matching payments to try to coax the remaining states to sign up. This comes at an anticipated cost to future taxpayers of $16 billion over 10 years.
The little-publicized measure is the first major expansion of Obamacare since it passed in 2010. The Senate is voting on the Covid-19 relief package this weekend. It will likely pass and be signed by President Biden next week.
The Congressional Budget Office estimates this aspect of the relief package will cost $44 billion over the next decade.
The current national debt stands at greater than $28 trillion, more than $224,000 per taxpayer in America.