WASHINGTON, DC – The Biden administration announced a record number of over 21 million people signing up for health plans through the Affordable Care Act’s insurance exchanges. This surge in enrollment comes amidst former President Donald Trump’s renewed promise to repeal the program if elected.
The increase in sign-ups, totaling 5 million more than the previous year, is attributed in part to the unwinding of pandemic-era protections in Medicaid, resulting in millions of people being removed from the safety net health program. Since President Biden took office, there has been an 80 percent surge in Affordable Care Act sign-ups, following the expansion of subsidies available to consumers.
President Biden has emphasized the public’s desire to strengthen and protect the Affordable Care Act, rather than repeal it. The program, which includes health coverage marketplaces, Medicaid expansion incentives, and protections for individuals with preexisting conditions, has been a contentious issue since its inception in 2010.
Despite multiple repeal efforts during Trump’s presidency, the Affordable Care Act survived, maintaining its rising favorability among Americans. However, Trump, the front-runner for the GOP presidential nomination, continues to attack the program, vowing to replace it with a better healthcare plan, although analysts have yet to see a viable alternative.
The Affordable Care Act’s increasing popularity can be attributed, in part, to its Medicaid expansion, separate from the private insurance offered on the marketplaces, which has enabled millions of low-income Americans to gain coverage through government health programs. The public health emergency related to COVID-19 also led to a significant increase in overall Medicaid enrollment.
Under Biden’s leadership, the affordability of health plans under the Affordable Care Act has improved, with expanded subsidies making coverage more accessible to a larger number of people. As a result, approximately 80 percent of marketplace shoppers can find coverage for less than $10 per month.
Despite the program’s success, Republicans argue that the subsidies have become too generous, prompting debate over the sustainability of the program’s current structure. With the 2024 election looming, the future of the Affordable Care Act remains a contentious issue, with Democrats maintaining a strong advantage in public trust regarding its management.