KEEPING OUR FAMILIES HEALTHY AND PROTECTING OUR HEALTH CARE WORKERS, LOCAL HOSPITALS AND HEALTH CENTERS

The COVID-19 pandemic has greatly impacted our daily lives.  As we adjust to these changes while trying to keep our families safe and healthy, Congress has enacted a number of laws to ensure that folks have access to the care and testing they need, our health care workers have the protective equipment they require to do their jobs, and our local municipalities can be reimbursed as they respond to this unprecedented crisis.     

Below you will find some helpful information related to the recently passed American Rescue Plan as well as additional information on the previous COVID-19 packages that were signed into law.   

 

EXPANDING HEALTH COVERAGE AND LOWERING AMERICANS’ HEALTH CARE COSTS 

  • Expands Subsidies in ACA Marketplaces:  The American Rescue Plan significantly expands the subsidies in the ACA Marketplaces to cover more middle class families and to be of greater assistance to those already receiving them, for 2021 and 2022.   

  • Under the bill, no one will have to pay more than 8.5 percent of their income for a silver plan in the ACA marketplaces.  

  • It removes the current cap that makes any family with income above 400% of the poverty level ineligible for any subsidies.   

  • It provides that individuals below 150% of the poverty level pay no premiums at all, compared to 4% of their income currently.  

  • ACA Subsidies for Those on Unemployment:  The bill provides that any individual who receives unemployment at any point in 2021 is treated as if their income were 133% of the poverty level for the purposes of the ACA marketplace subsidy. As a result, they can purchase an ACA silver plan for zero premium. 

  • New Incentives for Medicaid Expansion:  The bill provides a new incentive for the 12 states (including Texas) that have not expanded Medicaid to do so by temporarily increasing the base Federal Medical Assistance Percentage (FMAP) by five percentage points for two years for any state that newly expands.   

  • COBRA Subsidies:  The bill provides a 100% subsidy for individuals who lose their job and choose to use COBRA to continue their existing employer-sponsored health coverage. 

  • Currently, those who would like to choose COBRA are required to pay the full cost of their coverage, including the employer contribution, making the cost prohibitive and preventing many from doing so. 

 

ADDRESSING HEALTH DISPARITIES 

Provides Significant Funding to Address Health Disparities:     

  • $7.6 billion in funding to support COVID-19 response at Community Health Centers. 

  • $1.4 billion for Older Americans Act funding to support community-based and in-house services for older adults struggling during the pandemic. 

  • $800 million to the National Health Service Corps to support primary care health and diversify our nation’s clinician workforce. 

  • $240 million to support the Nurse Corps Loan Repayment Program, which helps support nurses working in critical shortage and underserved areas. 

  • $330 million for Teaching Health Centers that train the medical professionals who serve our most vulnerable populations. 

  • $150 million for the Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting Program to improve the development, health and well-being of at-risk families with young children. 

  • Includes a provision allowing states, for five years, to extend Medicaid eligibility to women for 12 months postpartum.  

 

MENTAL HEALTH 

Provides $4 Billion for Expanding Behavioral and Mental Health Services:  

  • $1.5 billion for the Substance Abuse Prevention and Treatment block grant program. 

  • $1.5 billion for the Community Mental Health block grant program. 

  • $420 million for certified community behavioral health clinics. 

  • $280 million for programs that support mental and behavioral health and prevent burnout among health care providers and public safety officers. 

  • $100 million for Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) mental health services. 

  • $80 million specifically for the Pediatric Mental Health Care Access Program at HRSA. 

 

PUBLIC HEALTH WORKFORCE 

Mobilizes A Public Health Jobs Program to Support the COVID-19 Response: 

  • $7.6 billion in funding to public health departments to hire 100,000 additional full-time employees into the public health workforce.  

  • $100 million to support the Medical Reserve Corps, which consists of a network of volunteer medical and public health professionals that support emergency response efforts and community health activities. 

 

SKILLED NURSING FACILITIES 

Helping Skilled Nursing Facilities Better Cope with COVID-19:  

  • $500 million to deploy strike teams to help nursing home facilities manage outbreaks of COVID-19 when they occur. 

  • $200 million to the Secretary of HHS for the purpose of carrying out infection control support related to COVID-19 in skilled nursing facilities through quality improvement organizations.