The COVID-19 relief package will make healthcare more accessible to Americans, but not everyone is for the bill.

March 10, 2021
In The News

PENNSYLVANIA, USA — Story correction: It's 1.9 trillion, not 9.1 trillion. 

The American Rescue Plan of 2021 is a 1.9 trillion economic stimulus package that was proposed by President Biden to rebuild the economy. Part of that bill includes preserving and expanding healthcare coverage.

 “The plan expands eligibility for financial assistance to more Pennsylvanians and it expands the amount of financial assistance that are provided to those that receive it,” said the Executive Director at PENNIE Zachary Sherman.

 If you apply for coverage through Pennsylvania's state-based insurance marketplace PENNIE, you can receive financial assistance to pay for it if your income is between 100% and 400% of the federal poverty.

“For an individual four hundred percent is about 51,000 dollars in household income or a family of four that's about 105,000 a year in household income” he said.

The plan will also make it even more affordable for those who already receive financial assistance.

They will go through a process to look at everyone's income, the premium they're paying and if they're eligible for more financial assistance we will get it to them,” said Insurance Commissioner Jessica Altman.

 

About 340,000 Pennsylvanians are enrolled in PENNIE and the commonwealth is expecting that number to increase significantly.

"Those are some really big changes for anyone who needs coverage--and really intended to provide more opportunity particularly as we continue to deal with covid-19, as health is rightfully top of mind for everyone and we're hoping we get more people coverage they can afford,” she said.

 However—not everyone thinks this bill and everything that it includes is in the best interest of Americans.

Pennsylvania Congressman John Joyce, who voted against the relief plan says only 9% of this bill would combat the covid-19 pandemic and 5% would support the full reopening of our schools.

 Here is Congressman Joyce's full statement:

“Despite its steep price tag for American taxpayers, the Democrats’ $1.9 trillion ‘relief plan’ falls exceedingly short of crushing the COVID-19 pandemic, getting Americans safely back to work and school, and getting vaccines into arms. A progressive wish list that prioritizes political stunts over support for hardworking Americans, this legislation would destroy jobs, incentivize endless lockdowns, and keep our small businesses closed. Only 9 percent of this funding would combat the COVID-19 pandemic and a mere 5 percent would support the full reopening of our schools – the rest supports the Democrats’ radical socialist agenda.

“The American people want to get back to work, their kids back to school, and their communities back on the right track. A year into this crisis, President Biden’s ‘relief plan’ fails the American people and stunts our nation’s recovery.”

We also reached out to Congressman Fred Keller who also voted against the bill and provided a statement saying:

 “It is disingenuous to the people we represent to call this legislation ‘COVID relief’ when less than 10 percent of its $2 trillion price tag goes to public health measures. Before Congress spends another cent of the people’s money to address the pandemic, we must first drive out the funds already appropriated, $1 trillion of which has yet to be spent. Washington Democrats’ endless spending on non-COVID related items is reckless and only serves to hurt those who they claim to help. Americans need relief that is temporary, targeted, and tied to COVID-19. Unfortunately, this bill fails on each of those benchmarks, and our kids and grandkids will be paying for it in higher taxes and lost opportunities for generations to come.” 

The enhanced subsidies are federally funded as part of the American rescue plan. The expansion of the subsidies is temporary and will remain in effect through 2022.