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Joe Biden speaks at an event about affordable health care. Photo: Jim Watson/AFP via Getty Images

Joe Biden's proposal to increase Affordable Care Act subsidies and open the marketplace to people with employer insurance could save millions of people hundreds of dollars a month, according to a new Kaiser Family Foundation analysis.

Why it matters: Biden's plan to build on the ACA — making it more affordable and drawing more people onto its exchanges — sets up a stark contrast with President Trump's vision, which is to tear the entire law down.

The big picture: Biden's proposal for a public option got a lot more attention during the primary, as it was contrasted against Medicare for All.

  • While less flashy, expanding ACA subsidies could enormously benefit middle-class people — particularly older people who live in more rural areas — who don't qualify for subsidies and so spend a large portion of their income on premiums each month.
  • It could also be helpful for people who spend a lot on employer insurance, but are barred from choosing a subsidized plan on the individual market.

Driving the news: Affordable coverage options have become even more important during the pandemic, as millions of Americans lose their jobs and their insurance.

  • Employers looking to reduce expenses are increasingly opting out of providing health coverage, a problem that is likely to get worse, the NYT reported yesterday.

By the numbers: Biden has proposed to limit what anyone pays in premiums to 8.5% of their income, and to change the way subsidies are calculated.

  • This would lower the cost of coverage for nearly everyone who is already enrolled in an ACA plan, as well as for those who can't afford this coverage, per KFF.
  • A 40-year-old making $50,000 a year — which is just above the subsidy threshold — would save 32% a month on premiums for a lower-deductible ACA plan. A 60-year-old with the same income would pay 66% less a month.
  • More than 12 million people with employer insurance would spend less on premiums if they switched to an ACA plan subject to premium caps.

Yes, but: "Any health reform plan involves trade-offs. In the case of Biden's, it's primarily the budgetary cost -- an estimated $750 billion over 10 years, according to the campaign," KFF's Larry Levitt tweeted.

Go deeper

Ben Geman, author of Generate
Oct 23, 2020 - Energy & Environment

Biden looks to stem oil "transition" furor amid GOP attacks

Former Vice President Joe Biden. ANGELA WEISS / Getty Images

Joe Biden's campaign is looking to blunt attacks in response to his comments in Thursday night's debate about a "transition from the oil industry," as Republicans look to make the remarks a liability in the closing days of the race.

Driving the news: Biden campaign spokesperson Bill Russo, in comments circulated to reporters Friday afternoon, said the former VP "would not get rid of fossil fuels," but wants to end subsidies.

Trump impeachment trial to start week of Feb. 8, Schumer says

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer. Photo: The Washington Post via Getty

The Senate will begin former President Trump's impeachment trial the week of Feb. 8, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer announced Friday on the Senate floor.

The state of play: Schumer announced the schedule after reaching an agreement with Republicans. The House will transmit the article of impeachment against the former president late Monday.

1 hour ago - Health

CDC extends interval between COVID vaccine doses for exceptional cases

Photo: Joseph Prezioso/AFP via Getty

Patients can space out the two doses of the coronavirus vaccine by up to six weeks if it’s "not feasible" to follow the shorter recommended window, according to updated guidance from the Centers for Disease and Control and Prevention.

Driving the news: With the prospect of vaccine shortages and a low likelihood that supply will expand before April, the latest changes could provide a path to vaccinate more Americans — a top priority for President Biden.

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