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News Release

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

On Friday, Secretary Xavier Becerra and leaders across the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) released the following statements celebrating the one-year anniversary of President Joe Biden’s enactment of the American Rescue Plan on March 11, 2021: 

Secretary Xavier Becerra: “President Biden’s American Rescue Plan has been a game-changer, fueling our work to build our nation back healthier. The funding has helped advance our top priorities: tackling the COVID-19 pandemic, expanding health care access, reducing health care costs, closing health disparities, and strengthening behavioral health. This law, and the investments made by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, make one thing clear: the Biden-Harris Administration is delivering on its promise to build a healthier America. Today, we celebrate all the American Rescue Plan has made possible over the past year, and restate our unwavering commitment to promoting the health and well-being of all Americans.”

Administration for Children and Families Acting Assistant Secretary Jennifer Cannistra: “The American Rescue Plan is a ‘once in a generation’ opportunity to lift children, youth, families, and individuals from poverty and create supportive environments where they can collectively thrive. Our goal at ACF is to help communities use their American Rescue Plan funds in bold and innovative ways to meet their unique needs.”

Administration for Community Living Principal Deputy Administrator Alison Barkoff: “The American Rescue Plan provided more than $1.4 billion to help older adults, particularly those in underserved communities, recover from the pandemic. With this funding, the aging services network in every state is providing home-delivered meals and in-home supportive services, assisting family caregivers, and much more. It also provided funding to expand the public health workforce within the aging and disability networks to continue to fight COVID-19 and to provide critical services like helping people move from high-risk congregate settings to homes in the community. This represents a crucial investment in supporting the health and well-being of older adults and people with disabilities, who continue to face significantly increased risks from COVID-19.”

Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Administrator Chiquita Brooks-LaSure: “The American Rescue Plan expanded access to affordable coverage, bringing peace of mind to millions of individuals and families. The historic bill also expanded home- and community-based care for seniors and people with disabilities, and beginning in April, states will have the option to expand postpartum Medicaid coverage for a full year, up from just 60 days. These important steps will expand access to care at critical times in many people’s lives, while giving them the flexibility to live safely and independently in their homes and communities.”

Health Resources and Services Administration Administrator Carole Johnson: “Thanks to the American Rescue Plan, the Health Resources and Services Administration has led the way in providing access to essential health care and services to underserved and rural populations across the country. From supporting health centers on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic to bolstering rural hospitals and clinics’ COVID response to building trusted messengers to increase vaccination and growing the health workforce, the Health Resources and Services Administration has been able to use the American Rescue Plan to support critical needs across this country this year.”

Indian Health Service Acting Deputy Director Elizabeth Fowler: “The American Rescue Plan Act appropriated a historic $6 billion to the Indian Health Service for expanded health care services, lost third party revenue, and pandemic related activities such as delivering vaccines and tests to prevent the spread of COVID-19. This investment also strengthened the public health workforce in Indian Country, supported mental health and substance abuse prevention and treatment and helped us meet facility and equipment needs related to the pandemic. These resources have made a powerful impact in American Indian and Alaska Native communities. We are grateful for these critical resources and will continue to support Indian Health Service, tribal, and urban Indian organizations in implementing these funds.”

Some highlights of major U.S. Department of Health and Human Services investments made possible by the American Rescue Plan over the past year are:  

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Tackling the COVID-19 pandemic 

  • Invested $7.6 billion in health centers to prevent, mitigate, and respond to COVID-19, as well as retain essential health care providers, maintain and expand services, and improve health care facilities and equipment.
    • Administered nearly 20 million COVID-19 vaccines in underserved communities across the country.
    • Supported the ongoing distribution of 50 million free, at-home self-tests through community health centers and rural health clinics to patients and community members.
    • Distributed N95 masks to individuals and families in some of the hardest hit communities in America through Health Resources and Services Administration-supported community health centers and rural health clinics.
  • Invested $1 billion in major construction and renovation projects in health centers nationwide to help serve more patients and increase health care access.
  • Invested $32 million in training and technical assistance partners for health center staff training and support regarding equitable access to COVID-19 vaccination, testing, and treatment.
  • Provided $20 million to Native Hawaiian health systems to support life-saving resources and care for Native Hawaiian communities experiencing barriers to accessing health care services, including geographic isolation.
  • Provided reimbursement for COVID-19 vaccine administration, testing, and treatment for the uninsured.
  • Funded nearly 160 organizations conducting vaccine education and outreach to support trusted messengers building vaccine confidence in underserved communities in all 50 states.
  • Provided $100 million to strengthen the Medical Reserve Corps (MRC), a network of medical and public health volunteers organized locally to improve the health of their communities. The Medical Reserve Corps has added more than 100,000 volunteers since the beginning of the pandemic.
  • Provided easier access to testing for the uninsured, including investing nearly $5 billion to cover testing costs for providers serving the uninsured.
  • Provided $121 million to expand voluntary home visiting to support pregnancy education, parenting skill-building, and supplies for pregnant women and families living in communities at-risk for poor maternal and child health outcomes.
  • Released $1 billion Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) pandemic emergency assistance funds so that states, territories, and tribes can provide immediate economic relief to families with the lowest incomes who are unable to meet their added expenses or debt due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Awarded $350 million to support state and community efforts to prevent and respond to child abuse and neglect during a time when children and families are experiencing increased hardship as a result of the pandemic.
  • Released $39 billion in child care relief funds to provide relief for child care providers and provide support for families that need help affording child care in the wake of the COVID-19 health emergency. 

Expanding Access to Care and Reducing Health Care Costs

  • Launched the 2021 Special Enrollment Period on HealthCare.gov from February 15, 2021 through August 15, 2021, that resulted in a total of 2.8 million people - PDF newly gaining coverage through federal and state-based Marketplaces.
  • Launched 2022 Open Enrollment Period with an extended period in most Marketplaces from November 1, 2021 through January 15, 2022, with a record 14.5 million people signing up for coverage through federal and state-based Marketplaces.
  • Lowered costs and increased enrollment to record levels resulting in nearly six million people who have newly gained coverage under the Administration.
  • Provided affordable health insurance plans with record-low premiums on HealthCare.gov, where four out of five people could find a plan for $10 or less per month with the newly expanded financial assistance from the American Rescue Plan. 

Investing in rural health 

  • Invested $8.5 billion in rural payments to providers and suppliers who serve rural Medicaid, Children's Health Insurance Program, and Medicare beneficiaries to help them keep their doors open, address workforce challenges, and make up for the lost revenues and increased expenses caused by the pandemic.
  • Provided nearly $460 million to over 4,500 Medicare-certified Rural Health Clinics in 45 states for COVID-19 testing and mitigation to expand access to testing for rural residents.
  • Provided $398 million to 1,540 hospitals to help small rural hospitals and Critical Access Hospitals maintain and increase testing and expand mitigation activities tailored to local community needs.
  • Awarded $97 million to nearly 2,000 Medicare-certified Rural Health Clinics in 44 states to increase COVID-19 vaccine confidence in rural communities. 

Investing in tribal health 

Distributed more than $9 billion to support COVID-19 mitigation in Indian Country through the Indian Health Service, in consultation with tribal governments — nearly $6 billion from the American Rescue Plan Act. These resources have supported critical response activities, such as drive-thru testing sites, community vaccine distribution efforts, and the continued provision of high-quality health care in Indian Country.

Investing in the health care workforce 

  • Supported 45 health care organizations to reduce health care provider burnout and support health care workers’ mental health and wellness.
  • Provided $1 billion to strengthen the primary care health workforce through the National Health Service Corps and Nurse Corps scholarship and loan repayment programs resulting in the largest cohort in the 50 year history of Health Resources and Services Administration scholarships and loan repayment assistance for clinicians – 22,700 clinicians providing primary care, dental, behavioral health and opioid treatment services to more than 23.6 million patients.
  • Provided $19.2 million to grow the next generation of primary care physicians and dentists by funding primary care residency training programs in community-based health centers in rural and underserved communities.
  • Provided $22 million to grow the mental health and substance use disorder workforce and provide placements at health centers and other community-based settings, where behavioral health services are most urgently needed.
  • Provided $330 million to strengthen and expand community-based primary care medical and dental residency programs in underserved and rural communities.
  • Provided $66 million to enhance the behavioral health workforce for underserved communities.
  • Provided $150 million to expand the public health workforce to respond to the needs of people with disabilities and older adults.

Investing in behavioral health

  • Invested $3 billion — the largest aggregate amount of funding to date — into the Community Mental Health Services Block Grant Program and Substance Abuse Prevention and Treatment Block Grant Program.
  • Provided $11 million to expanded pediatric mental health care access through state and regional networks of pediatric mental health care teams to diagnose, treat, and refer children and youth with mental health conditions and substance use disorder. 
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