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President Biden this week unveiled his latest initiative, the American Jobs Plan, which includes more than $2 trillion in investments, including ones in healthcare and in the infrastructure that affects telehealth connectivity.
The plan would spend $400 billion toward expanding access to home-based or community-based care and improving the wages of caregivers – which are disproportionately women of color.
The plan is expected to get a pushback from Republicans and even some Democrats.
President Biden proposed his Made in America corporate tax plan to pay for the hefty price tag tied to his latest initiative within 15 years. The tax plan would: raise the corporate tax rate to 28%, set a global minimum tax at 21%, end federal tax breaks for fossil fuel companies and discourage off-shoring.
It's unclear if and when the proposal will be enacted, but officials project legislative actions to begin this summer.
WHAT'S THE IMPACT?
Provider groups applauded the American Jobs Plan for addressing some of the social determinants of health that contribute to health inequalities.
Among the areas the American Jobs Plan focuses on are repairing the nation's infrastructure, addressing climate concerns, supporting the care economy and creating well-paying jobs.
If passed, the plan would allocate:
- $400 billion toward expanding access to home-based or community-based care and improving the wages of caregivers – who are disproportionately women of color.
- $111 billion for clean drinking water by replacing lead pipes and upgrading water systems.
- $100 billion to expand high-speed broadband Internet in unserved and underserved areas.
- $85 billion to modernize existing transit and help agencies expand their systems to meet rider demand.
- $30 billion for future pandemic preparedness by boosting medical manufacturing, investing in research, and development and creating jobs.
- $28 billion toward the modernization of federal buildings including VA hospitals.
"We commend the Biden administration for the plan's provisions to expand Medicaid Home and Community Based Services, upgrade Veterans Affairs hospitals, protect clean drinking water, expand public transportation infrastructure, and invest in broadband and medical manufacturing," Dr. Ada Stewart, the president of the American Academy of Family Physicians, said in a statement.
"These actions, along with other economic measures, will help promote health equity."
As a representative for many of the country's hospitals, health systems and healthcare providers, the American Hospital Association also commended the proposal, but said more could be done to support healthcare infrastructure.
"Now, more than ever, federal investment is needed to ensure hospitals are able to meet the health care needs of patients and continue to be a source of jobs and economic stability in their communities, and often their largest employer," Richard Pollack, the president and CEO of the AHA said in a letter to President Biden.
"As your administration works with Congress to develop policies aimed at rebuilding our nation's critical infrastructure, as reflected in [this week's] announcement, we urge you to prioritize support for health care and its vital role in addressing critical challenges including health equity, emergency preparedness, access to care and more."
Specifically, the association called for investments into hospitals' physical infrastructures, the Hospital Preparedness Program, digital health and data frameworks, the healthcare workforce, the medical supply chain, and behavioral health access.
THE LARGER TREND
Last month, the Senate passed the first prong of President Biden's Build Back Better plan – the American Rescue Plan. The $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief bill sent direct payments to Americans, issued resources for safely reopening schools and mounted a nationwide vaccine, testing and contact-tracing program.
Notably, the relief bill did not include relief funding for hospitals or loan forgiveness, which were concerns of the AHA.
It does, however, contain a number of measures that would subtly improve the revenue profile and reduce cost pressures for nonprofit hospitals, according to Fitch Ratings.
President Biden has yet to release his final program under the Build Back Better Plan that would "restore the middle class and help families make ends meet," according to the White House. Officials say the American Families Plan will be released later this month.
ON THE RECORD
"I hope Republicans in Congress will join this effort. I hope and I believe a number of businesses will join this effort. And I hope and believe the American people will join this effort – Democrats, Republicans and independents," President Biden said Wednesday in his speech unveiling the American Jobs Plan.
"We can do this. We have to do this. We will do this."
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