President Donald Trump and democrat Joe Biden have distinctively opposing views when it comes to healthcare in the United States. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, healthcare has become the top priority for US citizens. Both candidates have unique strategies that focus on solving the problem of providing inexpensive and accessible for all healthcare.
29% of Americans consider healthcare even more important than the economy in this pandemic. COVID-19 has left no choice for US citizens but to focus on their safety and healthcare. However, catering to these rising concerns of Americans is not an easy task. Here I’ll guide you to the different perspectives of both the candidate on how they believe they can tackle these concerns.
The Affordable Care Act
The Affordable Care Act helps Americans by making health insurance affordable for the public, emphasising preventive care strategies, and implementing new processes and technologies for improved healthcare. It includes creating accountable care organisations, implementing technology such as Electronic Health Records (EHR), funding healthcare training etc.
Here are the views of both the candidates towards the Affordable Care Act
Trump has been against the ACA for almost four years and has continuously tried to undermine it. However, it is yet to be decided, whether the Supreme Court would overturn this law on Nov 10. If it’s overturned, the President, along with the Congress, would have to deal with millions of Americans becoming uninsured.
Moreover, Trump does not support ‘Medicare for All’; neither does he support any optional public health plan. In his words, he claims these plans follow “Socialism.
Biden has stated that he would defend the Affordable Care Act from any legal or congressional problems. He also said that he plans to “build on” the Affordable Care Act by expanding subsidiaries on the exchanges of the act.
Although Biden also does not support ‘Medicare for All’, he is open to accept an optional public health plan based on the Affordable Care Act insurance exchanges.
Medicaid and Medicare
Medicare and Medicaid together provide healthcare and insurance coverage to almost 115 million people in the US. Medicare aims to help citizens 65 or above, pay their medical expenses. In comparison, Medicaid aims to help low-income groups with healthcare facilities and costs.
Here are the views of both candidates when it comes to Medicare and Medicaid.
Trump promotes the use of private insurance companies through the Medicare program. It would create problems for people who do not have private insurance. However, Trump has included telehealth in Medicare coverage and increased Medicare advantages. It creates ease for both practitioners and patients by enabling virtual patient visits. Under this change, healthcare providers can offer virtual care through telemedicine software and expect pay parity.
Under his vision, Trump has also stated that new immigrants would not receive Medicare and Medicaid benefits unless or until they can prove they have health insurance. Moreover, he created a ‘Public Charge’ rule. According to this rule, there would be a restricted entry for people to use Medicare or any other public program. However, this rule faces legal challenges right now.
Biden follows a more open-minded approach when it comes to Medicare. He proposes to lower the minimum age of people who can benefit from Medicare from 65 to 60. He also offered to make the vision, dental, hearing healthcare standard in Medicare. After all, it’s quite natural for the elderly to develop dental problems and hearing or vision loss.
Biden also proposes to offer more federal support to Medicare during the pandemic to help the people. He has also stated that it is his goal to provide healthcare services to at least 97% of the American population.
One of the significant changes Biden would make for the immigrants would be to reverse the ‘Public Charge’. Instead, he would allow any illegal immigrant to buy unsubsidised plans.
Healthcare and Medicine Costs
In healthcare and medicine costs, both candidates have similar objectives. Trump and Biden both want to put an end to surprise billing and lower drug costs. However, they differ in their approach to reduce drug prices.
Here are the views of both candidates when it comes to healthcare and medicine costs.
Trump’s strategy for reducing drug costs is by importing prescription drugs from other countries. As per experts, this could be effective in the short-run, but it is not a sustainable solution for the long run.
When it comes to surprise billing, it is something Trump wants to ban completely. Although Trump had previously tried to ban surprise billing in Congress in December, it didn’t go as planned. Also, he has put pressure on ensuring price transparency in healthcare institutes. His policy aims to pressurise hospitals and insurance companies to disclose hospital expenses to the patient. That may seem like a small step, but it could have long-term benefits.
Biden believes in supporting a bill passed last year that would enable him to negotiate drug prices with pharmaceutical companies, instead of importing from other countries. He would also ensure that any new drug prices don’t increase more than the inflation rate to keep drug prices affordable.
Similar to Trump’s beliefs, Biden also supports a complete ban on surprise billing. To rein in hospital prices, Biden plans to open new public option programs to talk and negotiate fixed prices with healthcare institutes.
In conclusion, both candidates have pretty diverse policy statements on the model for providing healthcare to Americans. While Trump would repeal the Affordable Care Act in favour of more private sector involvement, Biden wants to build on the existing structure. However, both agree that the pricing of life-saving drugs and surprise billing is a huge problem that will need to be catered to if America wants to improve its healthcare system. Whatever position you support, you must go out and vote!