Health care is a right, not a privilege. No one should have to lay awake at night staring at the ceiling wondering what they are going to do to get the care they need or to pay the bills if a family member gets sick. That is why I will do everything in my power to ensure that all Americans have access to the quality, affordable health care they deserve – and the peace of mind it brings.
That is especially critical in the midst of a deadly pandemic that has already taken the lives of more than 470,000 of our fellow Americans and infected more than one out of every 12 additional Americans, often with devastating consequences to their health.
Starting today and running through May 15, 2021, we are opening HealthCare.gov for all Americans to have the opportunity to sign up for health insurance. Now, everyone will be able to use a special enrollment period to help secure some peace of mind as we work to beat the pandemic and strengthen and build on the Affordable Care Act.
As more Americans get covered, it is encouraging to see Congress moving quickly to pass the American Rescue Plan, which will ramp up testing, tracing, and our national vaccination program to get shots into as many arms as possible as quickly as we can. The American Rescue Plan will also take big steps to lower health costs and expand access to care for all Americans, including those who have lost their jobs. It will increase federal subsidies and decrease premiums in order to ensure that no one pays more than 8.5 percent of their income to purchase meaningful and comprehensive health coverage. And it incentivizes states to expand coverage to an additional four million people with low incomes, and provides states the opportunity to extend coverage for a year to low-income women who have recently given birth.
We will get through this crisis if we look out for one another and work together to expand coverage, lower costs, and ensure that health care truly is a right for all Americans.