By Jarrett Renshaw
(Reuters) – U.S. President Joe Biden will travel to Ohio on Tuesday to mark the 11th anniversary of the signing of the Affordable Care Act and tout his moves to reverse many Trump-era measures aimed at weakening the landmark health reform law.
Biden will visit Ohio State University’s James Cancer Hospital to mark the anniversary and promote a $100 million grant the hospital received under the program, known as Obamacare, to upgrade its radiation oncology department, according to White House officials.
The visit comes as Biden and other top White House officials are hitting the road on the “Help is Here” tour to draw attention to the $1.9 trillion COVID relief bill, Biden’s first major legislation, which also provides short-term subsidies that deliver discounts for nearly everyone who buys insurance under the program.
The Affordable Care Act (ACA) – the signature legislative achievement of former Democratic President Barack Obama, under whom Biden served as vice president – has survived repeated attacks from Republicans, on Capitol Hill and in the courts. It is expanding under Biden’s watch.
Biden signed several executive orders reversing actions by Republican President Donald Trump, who had failed in his repeated vow to repeal Obamacare, that critics said made the program more expensive for consumers and more difficult to enroll in.
Biden reopened the enrollment period to buy coverage under the Affordable Care Act, extending it until May 15. Trump refused to open up a special enrollment period last year as the coronavirus pandemic upended the country.
The federal exchange reopened in mid-February for a special enrollment period, with more than 206,000 people signing up for coverage in the first two weeks, nearly triple the number during the same time frame last year, when access was limited to life-changing events, federal data shows.
There are about 28 million Americans without health insurance, down from about 46.5 million in 2010, when the ACA was passed, according to the latest federal figures.
The Biden administration is pouring $50 million into marketing and outreach, restoring funding slashed by Trump.
During the presidential election campaign last year, Biden unveiled a health-care plan that would allow Americans to choose between their private insurance plans and public options. He took criticism from the progressive arm of the Democratic Party, which supported a government-run program like Medicare for all.
(Reporting by Jarrett Renshaw; Editing by Leslie Adler)