Mar 23, 2021
Joe Biden Speech on Affordable Care Act, COVID Relief Columbus, OH Transcript March 23
President Joe Biden gave a speech in Columbus, Ohio on March 23, 2021 on the Affordable Care Act. He also discussed the American Rescue Plan. Read the transcript of the full speech remarks here.
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Joyce Beatty: (00:00)
… Mr. President to have you here in the heart of my district, the James, as part of your Help is Here tour with my colleagues, Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur, Congressman Tim Ryan. And what a privilege it is to be here at the Ohio State University, in the James, with Madam President, Dr. Kristina Johnson, yes, a scientist, with Chancellor Harold Paz, with Dr. Farrar, Dr. Andy Thomas, Dr. Wong and so many more of my Ohio state colleagues and friends, especially as we celebrate the anniversary of the 11th anniversary of the Affordable Care Act being signed 11 years ago on this very day. Since then, a lot has changed, Mr. President. More than 20 million Americans are newly insured and countless more can now find affordable, high-quality healthcare plans that best meets their needs without going broke.
Joyce Beatty: (01:12)
I remember 11 years ago. I was here as a senior vice president at the Ohio State University when students found out that they could stay on their parents’ insurance until they were 26 years old. Seeing the relief on their faces and hearing in their voices that they wouldn’t have to be forced to go without healthcare coverage, not to mention the fact that preexisting conditions like cancer or just being a woman would no longer prevent more than 130 million Americans from getting treatment or being kicked off their health insurance. Mr. President, I am excited to serve with you.
Joyce Beatty: (01:58)
And as you mentioned on that historic day in 2010, the Affordable Care Act is a big deal, and it still is. And the same can be said about the American Rescue Plan. It is all about meeting the magnitude of the moment of my constituents. Lives are on the line. And this is a historic package that will put dollars in family’s pockets, get people back to work, return children and our teachers to the safety of the classroom, improve vaccine distribution, and yes, strengthen our economy.
Joyce Beatty: (02:37)
I want to thank you, Mr. President and Vice President Harris, for pledging direct relief to people and small businesses that need it the most. And this landmark, life-changing piece of legislation makes good on that promise. Together with you, your administration, my colleagues and my OSU family of doctors and scientists, we can defeat COVID-19 and make promise on the pressing issues facing our country, including something that I know is extremely personal to you, Mr. President, defeating cancer as evidenced by your Cancer Moonshot Initiative. So, let’s go defeat COVID-19 so we can end cancer as we know it and continue to build back better.
Joyce Beatty: (03:33)
Now, it is my pleasure to yield to Tameka Hairston, a manager of case management and social work right here at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center’s East Hospital, to introduce the 46th president of the United States, Mr. Joe Biden. I’m Congresswoman Joyce Beatty. I approve this message.
Tameka Hairston: (04:28)
Good afternoon. My name is Tameka Hairston and I am the manager of the case management and social work department at the Ohio State Wexner Medical Center’s East Hospital. I’m excited to share reflections regarding where we’ve been, where we are today and the excitement as to what the future of the American Rescue Plan Act will bring to the OSU health system and its patients.
Tameka Hairston: (04:56)
As we look to the anniversary of the Affordable Care Act, I recall when it was implemented. We saw many… excuse me. We saw, and many times assisted patients and families with getting enrolled in healthcare plans, including Medicaid managed care plans, thereby providing them with access to the affordable healthcare that they so deserve and many desperately needed. We are now at a point to where patients and families do not need to use the emergency department as primary entry into our healthcare system. The ACA has afforded them access to obtain primary care provider coverage or linkage to an accountable care organization, thus allowing for the provision of increased continuity of care. This, as we all know, leads to better health outcomes for patients and their families.
Tameka Hairston: (05:53)
Because patients have had increased opportunity and more affordable options for access to care, we have used less patient and family emergency resources for services, both inpatient and outpatient. This includes services such as DME, which are walkers and wheelchairs, things of that nature, access to transportation and post-acute care services such as home IV infusion and skilled nursing visits. More importantly, though, it allows our patients better access to more specialized services like that which is provided within the radiation oncology department at the James Cancer Hospital and Solove Research Institute.
Tameka Hairston: (06:35)
I am looking forward to the lower premiums and the expanded opportunities for COBRA afforded by the new American Rescue Plan Act of 2021. This act will help patients like one I vividly recall, a patient who had a job, but just couldn’t afford the coverage that was afforded to them at the time. This patient came in with an infection and then needed long-term IV antibiotics. In the past, this patient would have had to stay in the hospital to receive those services. Today, with access for better coverage, these services can be covered in a home setting. I am truly grateful for the difference the ACA and now the American Rescue Plan are making in our patients’ lives.
Tameka Hairston: (07:26)
So, please join me in welcoming to the podium, President Joseph R. Biden.
Joe Biden: (07:51)
Tameka, thank you very much. I guess I’m supposed to keep this on, correct? Yep. So, good afternoon. Almost getting into evening.
Joe Biden: (08:03)
Before I begin, as the Congresswoman said, earlier today at The White House, I addressed the mass shooting in Boulder, Colorado. While the investigation is ongoing, and I spent time in the telephone with the attorney general as well as the head of the FBI, this investigation is still ongoing. My heart goes out to the families of the victims and the survivors. I want to commend the heroic actions of Officer Eric Talley, the father of seven children, who left for work yesterday morning assuming he’d be able to go home and for the ultimate sacrifice he made for others.
Joe Biden: (08:49)
Now, let me turn to why I came today to talk about initially the American Rescue Plan and the progress we’re making on tackling COVID. Tameka, thank you for sharing your stories and what you’re doing. My daughter is also a social worker. And you have a profound impact on people’s lives and all you do to connect folks here in Ohio with the coverage and care they need. I want to thank Joyce, Congresswoman, for sticking with me during the day and Marcy, my old friend. Good to see you, Marcy. Thanks for being here. And Tim Ryan. I always kid with Tim. If I got to be in a foxhole, he’s the guy I want to be with. He always keeps his word, does exactly what he says he’s going to do. And it’s great seeing you, Tim. My best to the family. And Madam President, thanks for having served in the Obama-Biden administration and You’re doing an incredible job here. And all the docs that are here that I got a chance to meet with today, thank you. You’re an incredible group of individuals. I also want to thank Sherrod Brown who wanted to be here today, but he had to be in Washington to cast important votes in the United States Senate.
Joe Biden: (10:02)
Look, I want everybody to be aware that there are three key parts of the American Rescue Plan. All my colleagues support it here. First, we’re going to more rapidly acquire… we set out to more rapidly acquire enough vaccine to vaccinate every single American, quicker than anticipated. And what my COVID team went through, and we used the Defense Production Act, we’ve been able to organize and help increase the number of doses in a much shorter time. So, by the end of May, we’re going to have on hand roughly 600 million doses. Enough for every American. And the American Rescue Plan is also going to provide funding for more vaccination, vaccination sites, vaccinators and the paraphernalia needed to put that vaccine in one’s arm.
Joe Biden: (10:49)
In addition, there is a second important piece of that plan. It’s focused on dealing with the economic deprivation so many Americans have become subject to consequence of this virus, through no fault of their own. Millions have lost their jobs and are still out of work. Around 11 million children in America are going hungry, through no fault of their own. But as a result of the pandemic and the economic crisis, millions of Americans are not able to maintain their mortgage payments or rental payments and have found themselves on the verge of being evicted and having their homes repossessed. We stepped in and we prevented that from happening with the American Rescue Plan. Hundreds of thousands of businesses are now not going to go under, but they’re going to have opportunity to reopen and have the financial assistance to be able to do it the right way and safely. Schools, closed. And children losing up to a year or more in learning capacity. You’re ahead of the schedule here in Ohio, but across the nation, help was badly needed. And we’ve now provided the funding for that. Because of isolation, violence against women is up, abuse of children is up and the need for mental health problems to deal with mental health problem, the consequence of them is up as a consequence of COVID. And in addition to that, suicides are up. So, second, the American Rescue Plan brings relief to a population that’s badly hurting.
Joe Biden: (12:19)
And one more element of our response is that first and foremost is a commitment to get Americans $1,400 check per person, including per child. So, a firefighter and a school teacher making $120,000 combined with two kids are going to get a direct payment of $5,600 in cash. If they already have an account online with the IRS, which many do, by tomorrow, we will have a distributed 100 hundred million of those checks just since the legislation passed. We’re on the verge of doing that as of tomorrow. But for someone who doesn’t have direct deposit, they’re getting a check in the mail for all of that.
Joe Biden: (13:06)
So, we also expanded the childcare tax credit. Right now, if you file your federal income tax, you get a $2,000 deduction for every child you have. But if you’re making the minimum wage, you don’t earn enough to file for federal taxes. But because of the American Rescue Plan, if you have two children, for example, under the age of six, you’re going to get a check for $3,600. If you’re a child… And so, if you have two children, it’s $7,200 that’d be paid on a monthly basis. This is going to be life-changing. It’s estimated this will do more to end child poverty in America than anything we’ve ever done.
Joe Biden: (13:44)
There’s also the earned income tax credit. If you’re over the age of 19 and not a full-time student and you’re a childless worker, now you will get a check for $1,500 if you file. Small businesses not only will be able to borrow the money to keep businesses afloat, but get loan forgiveness in improving your business to get us back in the game. And by the way, all of this, economists left right and center argue and acknowledge, will create 7 million more jobs and increase economic growth. Increase economic growth. There’s so much more, but help is here.
Joe Biden: (14:19)
But I’m here in this great hospital to talk about a third way to help and that’s for your third type of health and that’s healthcare. I just concluded a tour of the radiation oncology department here at the James Cancer Center, which expanded thanks to a 100-million-dollar grant in the Affordable Care Act that Sherrod Brown was instrumental in making happen. That’s in addition to the research funding Ohio State received under the Beau Biden Cancer Moonshot. Because of our investments, this department has gone from being able to treat 60 to 70 patients a day to nearly 300 a day. This place is a source of hope.
Joe Biden: (14:58)
When I ran, I said I wanted to be the president who would preside over the end of cancer as we know it. We see the strides we’ve made. You talk to the docs and the researchers, I can tell you it’s within our reach. We’re all benefitors from the breakthroughs pioneered by the Defense Department, for example, a research agency called DARPA, which helped bring us everything from the internet to GPS. Well, I’m going to be proposing to my friends in Congress that we launch a similar operation at the Department of Health, a new effort called ARPA-H to deliver health breakthroughs that’ll find cures for cancer and other diseases by investing billions of dollars that companies are not willing to do. Drug companies don’t have the capacity. And I know we could do this. I know we could find great breakthroughs.
Joe Biden: (15:53)
America does big things. 11 years ago today, President Obama signed into law the Affordable Care Act. Historic achievement that would not have been possible, but for the vision and determination of one of the most successful presidents in recent American history, Barack Obama. I might note, parenthetically, when I got in the automobile to go to HHS, he was laughing. I didn’t know what he was laughing about. And he said, “Did you hear? They picked up what you said on the mic.” All I could think was, “Thank God, my mother wasn’t around to hear it.”
Joe Biden: (16:29)
But look, on this anniversary we should remember just how close we have come to losing that act, what we fought so hard for. And we have a duty not just to protect it, but to make it better and keep becoming a nation where healthcare is a right for all and not a privilege for a few.
Joe Biden: (16:48)
When I ran for president, I promised I would build on the foundation of the Affordable Care Act. And just 50 days into my administration, we’ve delivered on that promise with the American Rescue Plan. It does that by making healthcare more affordable. It means better coverage and lower premiums for millions of Americans.
Joe Biden: (17:07)
If you’re enrolled in Obamacare, you’re going to save an average of $50 a month, $600 a year by the reduction in payments. For a family of four earning $90,000 a year, that could save you $200 a month in savings. For a 60-year-old couple here in Ohio, earning $75,000 per year, it could save them about $1,000 per month to maintain the same healthcare. That’s $12,000 a year in your pocket that you didn’t have before.
Joe Biden: (17:39)
Because of the American Rescue Plan, if you lost healthcare because you lost your job or your hours were cut, we pay your contribution and your employer’s contribution on a so-called COBRA. That’s what your employer-based health insurance was. And so, since if they’ve gone out of business or you’re no longer there because you had to be laid off, you can stay covered for up to six months until you get back on your feet because the federal government will cover both ends of that COBRA payment.
Joe Biden: (18:09)
For millions who are out of work and have no coverage, thanks to this law, there’s an Obamacare plan that most folks can get with $0 premiums. Copays will still be there, but $0 premiums. 4 out of 5 Americans shopping on the Obamacare marketplace can get quality healthcare with a premium of $10 a month or less. Let me say that again. 4 out of 5 Americans who shop for a plan will find one for $10 or less per month. It’s especially important in communities that historically have gone without insurance at higher rates. Very few communities that have always faced health disparities, brown, black and Asian, Native American communities, have borne the brunt of the COVID crisis.
Joe Biden: (18:59)
We’re also making it easier to sign up for Obamacare. We’ve opened healthcare.gov for special enrollments on February the 15th. In the first two weeks alone, more than 200,000 Americans gained coverage. Today, I’m pleased to announce we’ve extended that period to run through August the 15th. Just go to healthcare.gov or call the National Hotline 1-800-318-2596. That’s 1-800-318-2596. A few clicks and a short conversation, that’s all it takes to start seeing these benefits, increased coverage and lower premiums.
Joe Biden: (19:44)
I’ll close with this. With the American Rescue Plan and the Affordable Care Act, millions of families will be able to sleep a little more soundly at night because they don’t have to worry about losing everything if they get sick. I, like many of you, grew up in a middle-class, I guess technically lower-middle-class household based on income. We lived in a three-bedroom split-level home with four kids and our grandpa living with us. And the walls were paper thin. I can remember hearing my dad rolling back and forth and I could tell there was something wrong. I remember asking my mom the next morning, “What’s the matter with Dad?” She said, “Honey, he’s just worried. We just lost our health insurance. There’s no longer has this coverage.”
Joe Biden: (20:25)
People lying in bed wondering, “My God, what happens? What happens if in fact I get sick? What happens if she has breast cancer or I end up with a heart condition? What happens?” And God forbid, you’re sitting on the edge of a hospital bed with somebody you love, like I did with my son, Beau, as he was dying, and all you have to think about is… all they have to think about is getting better, not what happens if an insurance company could come in, like they did before Obamacare, and say, “Sorry, you’ve outrun your coverage.” I used to sit there and think, “My God, what would happen? What would I do?” That’s the difference. We’re going to keep building until every American has that peace of mind and to show that our government can fulfill its most essential purpose, to care for and protect the American people.
Joe Biden: (21:21)
When we work together, we can do big things, important things, necessary things. We saw it 11 years ago with the Affordable Care Act. We saw it 11 days ago when we marked the signing of the American Rescue Plan. But we’re not done yet. Last week, we met my goal that I announced of administrating 100 million shots in my first 100 days in office. At the time, the press said, “That’s awfully audacious.” Now that we’ve done it in 58 days, they’re saying, “Boy, he sure set the bar off low.” Well, this week we’re announcing a new goal to get more people vaccinated, but we need all of the Americans to keep washing their hands, staying socially distanced and wearing the mask when you’re in public, as recommended by the CDC, and get vaccinated when it’s your turn. It’s a patriotic responsibility you have.
Joe Biden: (22:22)
Now is not the time to let down our guard. If we all do our part, after a long, dark year, we can show once again that we are the United States of America, that there’s nothing we cannot do if we do it together. We’re going to beat this pandemic. Because of the great docs up this staircase here, we’re going to beat cancer as we know it as well. We’re going to make sure once and for all that healthcare is a right, not a privilege, in this nation. Want to say to, again, the docs who spent the day with me, all the incredible work you’re doing.
Joe Biden: (23:01)
I told them that when my son contracted stage four glioblastoma when coming home from Iraq, when he was in Iraq, that I had the opportunity, the President asked me to do what they call the cancer moonshot. I put together an organization made up of 7 Nobel laureates, as well as another 30 docs in the cancer field. And I was able to go and visit every major cancer facility in the world, save one. And we have some of the finest minds in the world and they’re right here, right here at Ohio State, Ohio State, right here in Ohio, right here in the United States of America. And they break their necks every single day for us. We owe them. I want to thank you all. May God bless you. May God bless us all. And may God protect our troops. Thank you. Thank you for the [inaudible 00:23:54].