Biden Signs American Rescue Plan, Boosting Funds for California’s Communities of Color

Author Details

The California Pan-Ethnic Health Network 
For Immediate Release 
March 11, 2021 
Contact: Monika Lee (858) 353-7271 

Sacramento, CA – Today, President Biden signed the American Rescue Plan into law. This COVID-19 relief bill offers states $1.9 trillion in funding, including increased funding for Medi-Cal and subsidies to make health care more affordable.  

A recent Families USA report, “The Catastrophic Cost of Uninsurance,” found nationally, roughly 1 out of every 3 COVID-19 deaths are linked to health insurance gaps and more than 40% of all COVID-19 infections are associated with health insurance gaps. 

In California, the study found 37% of COVID-19 cases can be linked to coverage gaps and 30% of our total deaths can be linked to coverage gaps.  

The American Rescue Plan includes many key provisions to help make health care more affordable, like capping income contributions at 8.5 percent of income, eliminating premiums for people living at under 150 percent of the federal poverty level, subsidizing COBRA, and raising the federal match on the Medicaid program (FMAP). 

“We know that while the ACA significantly increased health care coverage among Black, Latinx, Indigenous, and Asian American Pacific Islander communities, these are still the communities that are most likely to be uninsured, pre-pandemic and during the pandemic,” said Kiran Savage-Sangwan, executive director of CPEHN. “We applaud President Biden and his administration for working swiftly to pass urgently needed funds to increase access to affordable health care and support California and other states.” 

“Communities of color are more likely to be frontline and essential workers, live in overcrowded housing, and face barriers and challenges to PPE, testing, contact tracing, and now vaccinations. Communities of color make up 80% of the state’s Medi-Cal enrollees,” Savage-Sangwan added. “These communities are the most likely to gain under this comprehensive federal aid package. We urge the state to continue directing its funds to the programs that support our most vulnerable.”