2020 Presidential Candidates Health Care Policies
Posted: October 23, 2020
Mix the complicated worlds of health care and politics and you can end up with nothing but confusion. Health care in the 2020 election has been a hot topic, alongside other key issues. We’re here to help Californians and all Americans better understand the health care policies put forth by the 2020 presidential candidates: President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden. We’ll discuss the Republican vs. Democratic stance on health care and how these candidate’s policies compare.
Democratic View on Health Care
The Democratic Party’s platform has pushed health care reform for many years. One of the most significant changes came with the Affordable Care Act (ACA), nicknamed ObamaCare after the Democratic president who signed it into law in 2010. The current Democratic nominee for the 2020 presidential race, Joe Biden, was the vice president at the time.
According to the Democratic National Committee, the Affordable Care Act brought health care to more than 20 million previously uninsured Americans, including many young adults who were allowed to remain on their parents’ health insurance policies for longer. The ACA also made it illegal for health insurance carriers to deny someone coverage due to a pre-existing condition.
The Democratic view on health care is certainly not unanimous. Some presidential hopefuls who have since dropped out of the race were in favor of creating a new nationalized system, sometimes called Medicare for All. Joe Biden has a less radical approach, however. He wants to build on the ACA and offer a public health plan option alongside private health insurance options. Here are some highlights from Biden’s health care plan:
- This public option would be akin to Medicare but would be available to all Americans, even those with employer-sponsored plans.
- Biden’s plan is to negotiate and coordinate with health care providers to create a health insurance policy with lower costs and no co-payments for primary care.
- He would reinstate the individual mandate, which is the fine for having no health insurance coverage that was included in the ACA.
- Biden also plans to increase the tax credits families can receive to lower the cost of health insurance on the individual marketplace. The Biden plan would eliminate the current 400% income cap and would calculate tax credits based on the value of a gold health plan rather than silver, as is currently the case.
- Biden’s plan also involves using presidential antitrust authority to target market concentration aggressively and put limits on prescription drug prices to make them more affordable.
Biden’s plan involves more government assistance than previous health care policies, which comes at a financial cost. The additional funding needed for Biden’s health plan would increase the federal deficit by approximately half a trillion dollars over the course of a decade.
Republican View on Health Care
The Republican Party shares the common goal of helping Americans get the health care coverage they need at prices they can afford. Their approach is distinct from the Democratic Party’s approach, however.
The Republican view on health care is that less government intervention rather than more is the solution to creating more competition and ultimately opening up better health care options for Americans. According to the Republican National Committee, in addition to rolling back regulations, this also means allowing people to purchase insurance outside of their state and combating the issue of ongoing lawsuits that increase the price of drugs.
The Republican Party approves of a public option as a last resort for Americans who are desperate for insurance coverage. However, the primary way Americans get their health insurance coverage should be through the private market.
The Republican National Committee is dedicated to repealing ObamaCare and replacing it with a better health care system. This “repeal and replace” stance was part of President Trump’s 2016 campaign. Congress has yet been unsuccessful in repealing the Affordable Care Act during the president’s current term.
However, the Trump administration has made changes to the ACA. During his first term, Trump:
- Removed the individual mandate, allowing Americans to choose to forgo health insurance without incurring a penalty from the federal government.
- Ceased the subsidies the Obama administration had been paying to insurers to incentivize them to stay in the ACA exchanges and keep premiums low.
- Expanded the length of short-term insurance plans from a maximum of three months to a maximum of 364 days.
- Allowed states to require Medicaid beneficiaries to prove they are actively employed or going to school.
- Cut federal aid to Navigator programs and advertising that the ACA had intended to help inform the public about the new federally run insurance exchanges and how to sign up.
President Trump hasn’t only focused on altering aspects of the ACA. He also signed a six-year extension of the Children’s Health Insurance Plan (CHIP) to fund health care for 9 million, has required more transparent pricing from hospitals and — like Joe Biden — is working on lowering drug costs.
Voter’s Guide to Health Care Policies
So, what does all this mean for you? Neither of the 2020 candidates’ health care plans intends to abolish the private health insurance market. That means that Americans who have a private health insurance policy they’re comfortable with can keep that policy – regardless of who wins the election. Individuals and families on Medicare or Medicaid or who are currently uninsured are more likely to experience the difference in these candidates’ health care policies.
What If President Trump Wins the Election?
In theory, because President Trump is the current President of the United States, his reelection shouldn’t mean any drastic changes in terms of health care reform. However, his administration maintains the goal of repealing ObamaCare, meaning there could be changes coming in the future. A Democratic majority in the House of Representatives poses a challenge to repealing and replacing the ACA, but the Trump administration could find alternative ways to cut back on public health care and emphasize private health insurance plans.
What If Joe Biden Wins the Election?
If Joe Biden becomes the 46th president of the United States, then you can expect to see more changes to health care policies. If Biden achieves his goal, ObamaCare will expand rather than shrink or be repealed. Americans will gain access to a public health insurance option alongside private plans, though the details of that option are somewhat ambiguous at this time. Americans will have to weigh their options to choose the best avenue of health insurance coverage for them.
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