Our Take on the American Rescue Plan

By Maddie Mason, Senior Associate, Policy

On Thursday, March 11, President Biden signed the $1.9 trillion COVID-19 Relief bill, known as the American Rescue Plan, a day after the House and Senate narrowly passed the bill along party lines. 

The National Health Council (NHC) released a statement applauding the passage of the legislation. Below is a list of some of the provisions that are of interest to NHC members.  

Direct Pandemic Response  

  • $70 Billion for COVID-19 vaccines, testing, and treatment;   
  • $10 Billion to carry out activities under the Defense Production Act to increase supply of needed resources;    
  • Expanding the public health workforce; and 
  • Investing in Community Health Centers and health services on tribal lands to address health disparities.  

Medicaid Provisions 

  • A 10% increase of federal payment for home- and community-based services through Medicaid; and  
  • Incentives to expand Medicaid for states who have not expanded.  

Coverage and Benefits  

  • Expanded paid sick and family and medical leave;  
  • Subsidized COBRA coverage at 100% through the end of September 2021;  
  • Increased value of the ACA Premium Tax Credit to lower or eliminate health insurance premiums and ensure enrolleesincluding those who never had coverage through their jobswill not pay more than 8.5 percent of their income for insurance coverage; and  
  • $3.5 billion to enable the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration and the Health Resources and Services Administration to expand access to behavioral health services.  

Support for Nonprofit Operations  

  • $50 Billion in flexible, equitably distributed small business assistance; and  
  • Increased access to Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans for larger nonprofits and nonprofits other than 501(c)(3) organizations.  

States and Localities  

  • $350 Billion for state and local governments; and  
  • $20 Billion to support Tribal governments’ response to the pandemic.  

While there is much to celebrate in the legislation, the NHC will continue to advocate for effective implementation, expansion, and extension of these provisions and additional COVID-19 relief. For more information, please visit our COVID-19 webpage.