While conversations around partisanship, funding and education surround President Joe Biden's Build Back Better Act, spectators are largely ignoring how close the bill brings the U.S. to reaching universal healthcare, Washington Post columnist Katherine Rampell wrote Jan. 6.
In 2010, the Affordable Care Act was supposed to bring the U.S. up to international healthcare standards and move the needle closer to a single-payer model, she writes. However, Ms. Rampell said Obamacare has "unfinished business," including failing to reach universal coverage and allowing states to opt out of Medicaid expansion.
Ms. Rampell said that as is currently written, the Build Back Better Act has the potential to fill in the ACA's blanks. Primarily, forcing Medicaid expansions in 12 holdout states and expanding marketplace subsidies would significantly reduce the number of Americans without access to an affordable or zero-cost health plan.
While some of the provisions are temporary, Ms. Rampell said that compared to other healthcare provisions in the Build Back Better Act — including Medicaid hearing coverage and lowering prescription drug prices — the steps it takes toward universal coverage could finally bring the U.S. healthcare system in line with the rest of the world.