Statement by President Joseph R. Biden, Jr. on 2021 Special Health Insurance Enrollment Period Coverage Progress
Health care is a right, not a privilege — and ensuring that every single American has access to the quality, affordable health care they need is a national imperative. Never has that been more important than today, in the midst of a deadly pandemic that has infected nearly 30 million Americans.
On February 15, my administration opened HealthCare.gov for three months to provide all Americans the opportunity to sign up for health insurance through a special enrollment period. In the two weeks since, more than 200,000 Americans have gotten covered. These numbers are an encouraging sign — but we can’t slow down until every American has the security and peace of mind that quality, affordable health coverage provides.
There is plenty of time left to sign up, and I encourage everyone who needs health insurance to go to HealthCare.gov before May 15. If you already have coverage, you can help family members and friends who are uninsured get themselves covered.
Getting more Americans covered is an important part of the equation — but we also need to lower health costs. Last week, the House of Representatives passed my American Rescue Plan, which includes big steps to drive down people’s premiums and expand access to care for all Americans, including those who have lost their employer plans. This plan will increase federal subsidies and decrease premiums in order to ensure that no one ever pays more than 8.5 percent of their income on health coverage — though most Americans will pay far less. And it incentivizes states to expand coverage to an additional four million people with low incomes, and extend coverage for a year to low-income women who have recently given birth.
The American Rescue Plan is essential to defeating the pandemic — allowing us to ramp up testing, tracing, and our national vaccination program to get shots into as many arms as possible as quickly as we can. But it also lays an important foundation for better health, a stronger economy, and peace of mind for more Americans as we come out of the crisis and build back better. The American people have united in historic numbers around this plan — Democrats, Republicans, and independents alike. Now, it is up to the Senate to hear them, and act quickly to pass the bill.