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March 12, 2021

Health Law Weekly

Biden Signs Massive $1.9 Trillion Relief Package into Law

  • March 12, 2021

President Biden signed March 11 a landmark $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief measure after it narrowly cleared the House and Senate without Republican support.

The Senate last week approved the massive aid package in a 50-49 vote. The House of Representatives voted in favor of the Senate-passed version on March 10 by a 220-211 margin.

The American Rescue Plan includes $1,400 in direct assistance to individuals; extends unemployment benefits scheduled to expire in March, provides about $350 billion in state and local government aid, and devotes $160 billion in additional funding for vaccinations and testing efforts.

The measure also provides enhanced federal subsidies for purchasing insurance coverage through the Affordable Care Act marketplace.

The legislation did not extend the moratorium on sequester cuts to Medicare providers, which is set to expire at the end of March. 

In a March 11 letter to House and Senate leaders, several groups, including the American Hospital Association and the American Health Care Association, urged Congress to enact legislation to extend the moratorium, warning that failing to do so could threaten patient access to care. "This funding would allow for continued support of providers' COVID-19-related additional expenses due to activities such as purchasing supplies and equipment, standing up emergency testing centers and the construction and retrofitting of facilities," the letter said.