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The critical COVID-19 relief package is a monumental step toward addressing the pandemic and protecting the health and livelihoods of millions

WASHINGTON — Today, President Biden signed into law the American Rescue Plan Act, a $1.9 trillion relief package that will help people, families, small businesses, and communities survive the pandemic. This desperately needed legislation comes as more than 29 million people in the U.S. have contracted COVID-19, and more than 500,000 have died. Due to centuries of systemic inequities and racism, Black, Latino, Indigenous, transgender, and gender nonconforming people have been disproportionately hurt by the pandemic.  

The American Rescue Plan Act, led by President Biden and the congressional majorities, is widely supported by the public and will build on previous COVID-19 relief packages to address the health care and economic crises caused by the pandemic — including by supporting access to sexual and reproductive health care. Access to sexual and reproductive health care is inextricably tied to health, safety, and economic security during the pandemic.

Statement from Alexis McGill Johnson, president, Planned Parenthood Action Fund:

“Americans elected President Biden, Vice President Harris, and health care champions in Congress to address the many challenges brought on by the pandemic — and they’re delivering. While some politicians wanted to exploit this must-pass bill to harm abortion access, immigrants, and trans people, the administration and congressional leaders kept the needs of families at the forefront. This legislation is a victory for our essential workers, for our health care providers, and for individuals and families in America and around the world. We are grateful for the many champions who made this happen and will continue working to provide more relief to those who need it.”  

Among its many important provisions, the American Rescue Plan Act:

  • Reduces monthly health coverage premiums for many individuals and families with low and middle incomes and expands eligibility for premium assistance
  • Increases funding and support for COVID-19 testing, tracing, and treatment
  • Invests in vaccine distribution and confidence activities
  • Incentivizes the remaining states to expand Medicaid
  • Provides an option for states to decide whether to expand Medicaid coverage to 12 months postpartum, a first step towards improving maternal health outcomes
  • Provides funding for states to vaccinate all Medicaid enrollees by fully reimbursing both the cost and the administration of COVID-19 vaccines
  • Provides funding for states to reopen schools safely
  • Supports state and local governments
  • Provides $1,400 direct stimulus checks for individuals, along with extended unemployment insurance
  • Supports global health and humanitarian efforts around the world

Passing the American Rescue Plan Act is an essential step forward for the country and our global partners. But it’s far from the last action that Congress and the Biden-Harris administration must take to combat the COVID-19 pandemic and to help people stay healthy and build their own futures — during this pandemic and beyond. Along with a coalition of more than 100 progressive organizations, Planned Parenthood Federation of America and In Our Own Voice: National Black Women’s Reproductive Justice Agenda developed “First Priorities for the Blueprint for Sexual and Reproductive Health, Rights, and Justice.” It is a detailed list of executive and agency actions on global and domestic issues that Planned Parenthood expects the Biden-Harris administration to continue swiftly addressing.

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Planned Parenthood Action Fund is an independent, nonpartisan, not-for-profit membership organization formed as the advocacy and political arm of Planned Parenthood Federation of America. The Action Fund engages in educational, advocacy and electoral activity, including grassroots organizing, legislative advocacy, and voter education.

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