Former President Barack Obama joined President Joe Biden on Tuesday at the White House to celebrate the 12th anniversary of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), or Obamacare.
During the event, President Biden signed an executive order to close the so-called “family glitch,” a loophole in the Affordable Care Act that limits coverage assistance to those who receive healthcare through a family members’ employer.
This “family glitch” affects about 5 million people and has made it impossible for many families to use the premium tax credit to buy an affordable, high-quality marketplace plan.
As it stands, if you have an affordable offer of health care coverage from your employer (less than 10% of your income), you are ineligible to purchase healthcare through the marketplace, which oftentimes is cheaper.
The problem, according to CMS Administrator Chiquita Brooks-LaSure is that if your workplace offer includes coverage for your family, your spouse and children would become ineligible too-no matter their own financial situation.
“This means more access will have access to affordable care, and spouses and children will be able to get coverage,” said Brooks-LaSure.
The executive order will allow more people to enroll in the marketplace by expanding the eligibility for tax credits.
The proposed rule would amount to the “most significant administrative action to improve implementation of the ACA since its enactment,” according to a White House fact sheet.
In his first return to the White House since leaving in 2017, former President Obama said the Affordable Care Act exemplified why public servants run for office — to make a difference in the lives of everyday Americans. The law, also known as Obamacare, expanded access to health insurance for millions of Americans.
“I intended to get health care passed, even if it cost me reelection — which, for a while, looked like it might,” Obama joked.
“The reason we’re here today is because President Biden, Vice President Harris, everybody who’s worked on this thing understood from the start that the ACA wasn’t perfect,” Obama said Tuesday. “To get the bill passed, we had to make compromises. We didn’t get everything we wanted. That wasn’t reason not to do it.”
According to NBC News, since Biden took office, enrollment and coverage through the ACA have been at its highest level. His administration has worked to increase participation in the ACA by opening a special enrollment period for people to get coverage during the coronavirus pandemic and by stepping up outreach and marketing efforts. Over the winter, 14.5 million people bought ACA marketplace plans, including 6 million newly insured people.