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President Biden Signs $1.2 Trillion Infrastructure Plan

Build Back Better Act with Key Health Care Priorities Still Up for Negotiation in Congress

November 15, 2021

President Joe Biden today signed a $1.2 trillion plan to improve the nation’s roads, bridges, and other infrastructure needs, as U.S. lawmakers continue negotiations over his larger social-spending agenda.

During a ceremony today, Biden touted the bipartisan infrastructure bill and said he was confident Congress would reach an agreement on the Administration’s social-spending plan, known as the Build Back Better Act.

“We’re taking a monumental step forward to Build Back Better as a nation,” Biden said.

The $1.2 billion infrastructure bill includes:

  • $110 billion in to repair roads, bridges, and other projects  
  • $66 billion in additional rail funding 
  • $65 billion to improve broadband access
  • $50 billion to protect the nation’s infrastructure against the impacts of climate change, cyber attacks, and extreme weather events
  • $39 billion to modernize the transit system

With the final approval of the infrastructure plan, U.S. lawmakers are now turning their attention to the Build Back Better Act.

The Biden Administration’s social-spending plan has been closely tied to the $1.2 trillion infrastructure package. House Democrats had originally planned to tie the approval of the two bills, before deciding to go ahead with the vote on the infrastructure bill alone.

The proposed $1.75 trillion Build Back Better Act, sponsored by U.S. Rep. John A. Yarmuth (D-Kentucky) funds an additional 4,000 residency positions through Medicare to help address the physician workforce shortage. HAP has joined the American Hospital Association and Association of American Medical Colleges in advocating to support the physician training pipeline and strengthen the health care workforce by funding additional graduate medical education slots.

The social-spending plan includes the following health care priorities:

  • A proposal to allow Medicare to negotiate drug prices for certain higher-cost drugs that lack competition
  • Subsidies through the Affordable Care Act to make coverage more affordable through 2025 and the expansion of Medicaid coverage for those living in states that opted against expansion
  • Developing new state Medicaid requirements to guarantee coverage for more vulnerable patients, including 12 months of continuous Medicaid and CHIP eligibility to postpartum women
  • Transparency measures for pharmacy benefit managers

HAP will continue to advocate for critical hospital and health system priorities in Washington and provide updates to members about the latest federal developments.

For more information, contact Laura Stevens Kent, HAP’s senior vice president, advocacy and external affairs.