Treasury secretary visits PA to highlight lowered health care costs, improving economy - TAI News
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Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen visited West Penn Hospital in Pittsburgh on Feb. 13 to highlight actions taken by the Biden administration to improve health care and grow the economy.

“Over the past three years, the Biden Administration has driven the strongest economic comeback of our lifetimes,” Yellen said in prepared remarks, noting that unemployment has fallen along with inflation, while gross domestic product has increased.

Yellen said that since the 1990s, health care spending per capita in Pennsylvania and across the nation has increased, and added, “These high costs have real impacts.” Yellen called the cost increases both a public health issue and an economic one.

“As treasury secretary, I see the strain high health care costs can put on family budgets and know that families need more breathing room. And having affordable health care leads to 

stronger financial security for middle-class families. It saves Americans and our country money. For all these reasons, the president and I are committed to ensuring that Americans can afford the care that they deserve.” (1:50)

Yellen noted that the 2021 American Rescue Plan signed into law by President Joe Biden had expanded tax credits for families paying health care premiums, credits that were then extended by the Inflation Reduction ActBiden signed the following year. As a result of those credits, Yellen said, nearly 15 million people are currently saving an average of $800 per year on their bills.

She also cited the provisions of the Inflation Reduction Act that cap out-of-pocket insulin costs for Medicare recipients and require drug companies to provide rebates to consumers if prices increase faster than the rate of inflation.

Yellen contrasted Biden’s approach to Obamacare to that of former President Donald Trump: “The prior administration tried to roll back the Affordable Care Act, jeopardizing protections for preexisting conditions, consistently undermined health care exchanges where Americans can sign up for the plans they want. From 2016 to 2020, enrollments stayed flat.” (2:40)

Biden reversed Trump administration cuts to the health care program’s advertising budget and navigator program, which assists people who need to sign up for coverage. Following those actions, the national uninsured rate has fallen to a historic low of below 8%.

Pennsylvania has seen significant economic improvement since the passage of Biden’s economic agenda, along with the rest of the country. When Biden took office in January 2021, Pennsylvania’s unemployment rate stood at 7.5%. The unemployment rate as of December 2023 was 3.5%.

The state’s Independent Fiscal Office reported in January that Pennsylvania currently has more jobs available than it did before the COVID-19 pandemic began in 2020.According to the White House, $14.8 billion has been invested in Pennsylvania public infrastructure and clean energy projects since Biden took office. The administration also said that private companies have announced $3 billion in manufacturing investments in the state since 2021.

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The Pennsylvania Independent is a project of American Independent Media, a 501(c)(4) organization whose mission is to use journalism to educate the public, giving them the information they need about local and federal issues.