Biden's health plan could significantly lower premiums, cost $750B

A health plan pitched by former Vice President and Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden would lower health insurance premiums drastically for some Americans, but could add $750 billion to the nation's healthcare costs, according to Mr. Biden and a brief published by KFF.

Mr. Biden's health plan includes building out the ACA by expanding subsidies and launching a public-option health plan. For their analysis, KFF researchers dove deeper into how expanded subsidies could affect the cost of health insurance if Mr. Biden's plan was enacted.  

Five things to know:

1. Most Americans who purchase health insurance off the exchanges set up by the ACA would see their costs decrease. People who make too much to qualify for subsidies but don't meet Medicaid eligibility requirements would see greater affordability too.

2. KFF said a given 40-year-old American making $50,000 a year who enrolls in a lower-cost, higher-tiered ACA exchange plan would see their average monthly premiums decrease from $522 to $354.

3. More than 12 million Americans who receive their health insurance through their employer would see their premiums decline if they switched to a marketplace plan under Mr. Biden's proposal. 

4. KFF researchers noted while Mr. Biden's expanded subsidies would improve health insurance affordability for many Americans, it would increase federal spending. KFF didn't estimate by how much his plan would increase federal spending, but Mr. Biden's campaign has said, when including the public option, his plan would add $750 billion in healthcare costs over the next decade. He plans to cover that cost by raising taxes on high-income Americans as well as raising the capital gains tax, according to KFF. According to the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, Mr. Biden has said the offsets would raise more than $1.3 trillion.

5. While Mr. Biden's plan involves building off the ACA, President Donald Trump has focused on affordability issues by expanding the use of short-term health plans, which often have lower premiums but don't have to follow ACA requirements that protect people with preexisting conditions. Additionally, the Trump administration is supporting a lawsuit that would overturn the ACA, though President Trump has said he will continue protections for preexisting conditions if the law is overturned. 

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