Biden touts rescue plan, tours Ohio State cancer facility in Columbus

By: - March 24, 2021 12:30 am

President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris. Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images.

Reporting from pool reports

President Joe Biden touted the recently passed COVID-19 rescue package during a visit to Columbus Tuesday evening, highlighting the child tax credit and earned income tax credit included in the American Rescue Plan.

Biden said the U.S. will have, by the end of May, roughly 600 million doses of coronavirus vaccines, “enough for every American.” He also noted the $1,400 direct payment checks and said “by tomorrow, we will have distributed 100 million of those checks.”

Biden spoke at the Ohio State campus in Columbus and toured Ohio State’s James Cancer Hospital and Solove Research Institute, thanking doctors and staff.

“This place is a source of hope,” he said.

Biden said he wants to push Congress to develop new government investments to deliver new research breakthroughs for cancer and other diseases.

“I know we can do this,” he said. “America does big things.”

The White House put out a backgrounder on the rescue plan and its impact on Ohio before the event.

Some highlights:

  • $5.5 billion in state fiscal relief.
  • $4.6 billion in local fiscal relief.
  • More than $4.5 billion in relief for K-12 schools.
  • Economic impact payments of up to $1,400 per person (above the $600 per person provided in December) for more than 7.4 million adults and 2.8 million children. This is 89% of all adults in the state and 87% of all children in the state.
  • Additional relief of up to $1,600 per child through the Child Tax Credit to the families of 2,372,000 children, “lifting 132,000 children out of poverty.”
  • Additional relief of up to nearly $1,000 through the Earned Income Tax Credit to 695,000 childless workers, including many in frontline jobs.
  • Marketplace health insurance premiums that are $1,062 lower per month for a 60-year old couple earning $75,000 per year.

The White House also highlighted how they say the American Rescue Plan would lead to the largest premium reduction and coverage expansion since the ACA.

Specifically, the release said, the ARP will:

  • Reduce premiums by an average of $50 per person per month for about 10 million consumers who have coverage today.
  • Lead at least 1.3 million people to gain coverage due to these premium reductions.
  • Help 80 percent of marketplace enrollees find a plan for $10 or less per month after tax credits.
  • Ensure that anyone who received unemployment insurance in 2021 can access a Silver health plan with $0 premiums.
  • Cover the full cost of COBRA health coverage for six months for workers and their families who lost their health benefits in the wake of COVID-19.

The Ohio Republican Party took a less enthusiastic view of the signature package, putting out a release before Biden’s appearance saying that “today is not the day for a PR tour to spike the football on a $1.9 trillion ‘relief’ bill that does next to nothing to combat the COVID-19 crisis.”

The Biden Administration release touted accomplishments on covid vaccinations, noting that vaccines have been made available to more than 800 pharmacies, including Kroger, Rite Aid, CVSm Walmart, Walgreens, CPESN (an independent pharmacy network), and Meijer.

They also pointed to partnerships with 24 Health Centers to provide them with direct vaccine allocations.

“Three were onboarded in the first phase of the program, in Akron, Cincinnati, and Lima, and 21 are being onboarded over this next five-week phase, in Akron, Chillicothe, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Columbus, Dayton, Hamilton, Ironton, Lancaster, Mansfield, Marion, Portsmouth, Sandusky, and Youngstown,” a release said. “Combined, they have sites at over 150 different locations across the state.”

Meanwhile, the Buckeye Institute think tank also took Biden’s visit as an opportunity to slam the administration, calling the rescue package “the latest unnecessary Washington spending bill.”

“These one-size-fits-all solutions will only lead to higher taxes and fewer health care options for Ohioans. This is not the prescription Ohio needs to fight the pandemic,” their release said.

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