Shaheen Helps Secure Biggest Improvement to ACA in a Decade as COVID-19 Relief Legislation Becomes Law

March 11, 2021

**Shaheen successfully included portions of her legislation in COVID package to lower costs and expand access to health care for more Americans & increased federal funding for vaccine efforts after NH received less federal support than originally estimated.**

**Estimates indicate Shaheen’s provision will lead to a more than 37 percent reduction in monthly premium costs, on average.**

**Shaheen helped secure significant federal aid for state & local governments facing severe budgetary shortfalls.**

(Washington, DC) – U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) issued the following statement after the COVID-19 relief package – the American Rescue Plan – was signed into law by President Joe Biden. Shaheen supported and worked to secure numerous New Hampshire priorities, including key provisions from her legislation that will lower costs and expand access to health care for millions of Americans – the biggest improvement to the Affordable Care Act since it became law over a decade ago.

“As we continue to endure the fallout of this global health and economic crisis, ensuring Americans can afford the health care they need has never been as dire. I worked to include provisions from my new legislation so we can lower costs and expand access for millions of Americans, which is the most significant improvement to the Affordable Care Act in over a decade. This will help ensure cost is not a barrier to care for many Granite Staters during these challenging times and helps makes good on the promise to improve the ACA to work for all Americans,” said Shaheen.

She continued, “This COVID-19 relief package delivers assistance in a meaningful way to help those who are hardest-hit and provides the jolt our economy needs to get moving again as we look toward the road to recovery. I fought to address numerous critical needs in this legislation based on my conversations with Granite Staters so working parents have extra money in their pockets to pay the bills, small businesses can stay open, hospitals and community health centers can continue to serve patients, organizations on the frontlines can assist our most vulnerable communities, local governments have the flexibility to address urgent needs on the ground, vaccines can be administered as swiftly as possible and much more. I’m so encouraged to see this legislation become law and will keep up the pressure to get these dollars out the door and oversee that legislation is implemented as intended so Granite Staters have the assistance they need.” 

Shaheen worked to include premium tax credit enhancement provisions from her legislation, the Improving Health Insurance Affordability Act, which will expand coverage to millions of Americans who are currently uninsured and reduce health care costs for millions of additional individuals who already have coverage, which is especially critical during the COVID-19 pandemic. Estimates indicate Shaheen’s provision will lead to a more than 37 percent reduction in monthly premium costs, on average.

The American Rescue Plan contains other key priorities secured or supported by Shaheen, including:

  • Support for state and local governments and improved flexibility for uses of funding: Senator Shaheen helped lead negotiations in the Senate and with the Biden administration on measures related to assistance for state and local government funding. She also worked to ensure flexibility in this funding so states and municipalities can be effective and efficient with how dollars are spent to best respond to needs on the ground.
  • Increased federal dollars for the Provider Relief Fund: During negotiations with the Senate and White House, Shaheen helped steer efforts to increase funding for the Provider Relief Fund to ensure hospitals, nursing homes and other health care providers on the frontlines have the support they need to keep their doors open and continue to care for Granite Staters and Americans across the country.
  • Funding to support vaccination efforts in smaller states like New Hampshire: After a flawed formula led New Hampshire to receive less federal funding than originally estimated, Shaheen led a push in Congress to address this discrepancy. In the COVID relief cleared by Congress, Shaheen worked to increase funding for vaccination efforts in smaller states, eliminating the shortfall the previous formula had created.
  • Federal investments to help child care centers and combat homelessness: Senator Shaheen has been a tireless advocate for increased federal aid to help child care centers and organizations assisting our vulnerable communities, including the homeless. This relief package includes significant resources to address those urgent needs.
  • Resources to support veterans impacted by the crisis: Senator Shaheen supported provisions in the legislation that provide resources for the Department of Veterans Affairs to ensure that veterans receive the benefits and care they deserve. This funding includes $750 million for state veterans’ homes to keep residents safe during the pandemic. 
  • Direct payment assistance to help working families: Senator Shaheen supported efforts to provide working families with direct payment assistance of $1,400 per taxpayer and eligible dependent for taxpayers filing separately who make up to $75,000 and married taxpayers filing jointly making up to $150,000.

Senator Shaheen is a member of the bipartisan, bicameral group of lawmakers that has steered negotiations of COVID-19 relief. The COVID-19 relief bill signed into law in December contained Shaheen-negotiated legislation that provided urgently needed assistance to American students, families, businesses, workers and health care providers impacted by the public health and economic crises. Senator Shaheen had a similar leadership role as a negotiator for the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act, which was signed into law last March and secured New Hampshire an initial $1.25 billion to assist with COVID-19 response efforts. Shaheen helped lead discussions on provisions in the CARES to assist small businesses and established the Paycheck Protection Program and expanded the Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program. Both of these programs have been lifelines for businesses throughout New Hampshire and the country.