Biden and Harris tout healthcare expansion in Raleigh visit

From left, Vice President Kamala Harris, President Joe Biden and Democratic North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper wave to and address the audience during campaign event in Raleigh, N.C., Tuesday, March 26, 2024. (AP Photo/Stephanie Scarbrough)

By Dylan Rhoney

March 26, 2024

Tuesday afternoon, President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris visited Raleigh to discuss the administration’s achievements in lowering healthcare costs and expanding access to health insurance.

It was Biden’s second visit to the state this year, and Harris’ second visit in the month of March, highlighting the importance of the Tar Heel State to the President’s re-election hopes. Biden narrowly lost the state in 2020.

This visit comes just days after the 14th anniversary of the passage of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), and as Donald Trump is on the campaign trail expressing support for repealing the law.

Speaking at the Chavis Community Center in Raleigh, the President touted his record on healthcare, which includes capping insulin costs for seniors at $35 a month through the Inflation Reduction Act, as well as support for the ACA under the American Rescue Plan, which has resulted in 21.3 million people enrolling in the program this year, an all-time high.

“Instead of seniors with diabetes paying close to $400 per month for their insulin they so badly need, they now only have to pay $35 a month,” Biden said.

Supporting Maternal Health

In her remarks, Vice President Harris touted the administration’s efforts to tackle the maternal mortality crisis.

“In the 21st Century, in the United States of America, it should not be the case that women here die in connection with childbirth at a higher rate than women in any other wealthy nation in the world,” Harris said. 

For women of color and in rural areas, the risks are even higher.

“Black women are three times as likely to die in connection with pregnancy, Native women twice as likely to die in connection with pregnancy, rural women one and a half more times as likely to die,” she continued.

“It is also the case that one of the most significant factors that contributes to this crisis of maternal mortality is that millions of women in America do not have access to adequate postpartum care. In fact, when we took office, in most states, women on Medicaid were only entitled to two months of coverage for postpartum care…and only three states in our nation offered twelve months of postpartum care.”

Harris told the crowd that she challenged states to expand access to postpartum care coverage under Medicaid to twelve months.

“I am proud, North Carolina, to report so far, a total of 45 states have now completed that challenge. Including North Carolina,” she said. 

@cardinalandpine

On Tuesday, President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris @bidenhq returned to North Carolina to tout the administration’s efforts to expand healthcare and lower costs. Biden hit back at former President Donald Trump’s vow to “terminate” the Affordable Care Act, and warned of the consequences if the law were to be repealed. “45 million people nationwide would lose their health insurance, including 1.4 million right here in North Carolina. 100 million people with preexisting conditions, from heart disease to asthma could lose their protection as well,” Biden explained. For more NC news and culture, follow @cardinalandpine. 🎥 Dylan Rhoney for Cardinal & Pine #healthcare #insurance #aca #accessibility #affordablecareact

♬ original sound – Cardinal & Pine

Medicaid Expansion

Under the Biden Administration’s American Rescue Plan, states like North Carolina that had not previously expanded Medicaid were incentivized to do so. When North Carolina implemented Medicaid expansion, the federal government covered 90% of the costs, and provided the state with an additional $1.6 billion dollars in federal funding support.

Attorney General Josh Stein, the Democratic nominee for governor, said the administration’s support greatly benefited the state. 

“I want to thank President Biden and Vice President Harris for our $1.6 billion dollar Medicaid signing bonus that is already delivering more and better healthcare to our people,” he said.

Since expansion occurred, just under 400,000 people have enrolled in the program, with 600,000 potentially eligible for coverage.

Governor Cooper recalled speaking to enrollee’s when the program launched on December 1st last year.

“I was in an enrollment center that day, and it was amazing talking with people with tears running down their cheeks, many of them getting health insurance for the first time in their adult lives,” he said.

The ACA Under Threat Again

Biden also looked back on the societal ills that the ACA corrected.

“Even pregnancy was considered a preexisting condition,” Biden said. “For all the young people out there, before the ACA, you’d get kicked off your parents healthcare plans before you turned 26, just as you were heading out on your own. For so many other people, they couldn’t leave a dead end job or start their own business because they couldn’t risk losing the healthcare they had where they were.”

Biden hit back at former President Donald Trump, who as president came within one vote of repealing the ACA, when the late John McCain voted to save the law in the US Senate in 2017.

Now the presumptive nominee for the Republican Party, Trump has been on the campaign trail renewing threats to repeal the ACA.

“Now they want, to quote his words, ‘terminate’ the ACA, as my predecessor says. If that were ever to happen, we can also terminate a lot of lives as well,” Biden warned. 

Biden went on to describe the real world consequences of repealing the ACA for many Americans. 

“45 million people nationwide would lose their health insurance, including 1.4 million right here in North Carolina. 100 million people with preexisting conditions, from heart disease to asthma could lose their protection as well,” Biden explained.

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