COVID-19 relief bill extends social safety net — for now

Coronavirus

The $1.9 trillion COVID relief bill will do more than send stimulus checks, extended enhanced unemployment benefits and help small businesses.

Read More: How much will your stimulus check be?

The American Rescue Plan championed by Democrats will be the biggest expansion of the social safety net in a generation. This will be especially true for children and those struggling to afford health insurance.

The plan increases the Child Tax Credit to $3,600 for little ones under the age of six, and $3,000 for older children. It was previously $2,000.

Congressman Ritchie Torres, a Democrat from the Bronx, said it will cut child poverty nationwide in half, by expanding the credit to 27 million Americans.

“We are doing for children what social security and Medicare did for seniors,” Torres said.

The American Rescue Plan is a massive expansion of the Affordable Care Act, commonly known as Obamacare.

The government will begin making the health insurance policies bought on healthcare.gov and on statewide exchanges more affordable with subsidies.

Essentially this will lower healthcare premiums for 14 million people. The savings could be north of 50% for some lower to middle income earners. The subsidies are expected to help 1.7 million more Americans get covered.

Through spending reimbursement for states, the COVID bill also encourages the expansion of Medicaid, health insurances administered locally that is used to help the most low-income Americans.

“This bill is about rebuilding the backbone of this country,” Biden said while signing the ARA.

But not a single Republican voted for the bill, blasting the deficit spending for things that go well-beyond COVID relief.

Most of the children and health benefits will expire right before the midterm elections in 2022. Democrats will make the pitch these changes should be permanent, setting up one of the key battles of the next election cycle.

Read More: How much relief money will NY get

Read More: How much relief money will NJ get

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