As the 2020 election draws near, healthcare sits atop many voters’ agendas. Here, we summarize President Trump and Joe Biden’s approaches to some of the most pressing healthcare issues.
As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, it is no surprise that healthcare looms large in the minds of people in the United States.
For many in the U.S., health insurance is tied to their job, and pandemic-related job losses have intensified concerns around access to care.
Additionally, issues surrounding equity have been thrown into sharp relief during 2020. With people in marginalized communities disproportionately affected by the new coronavirus, society is waking up to the injustices that permeate society and, in particular, healthcare.
Biden and Trump’s approaches to healthcare are polar opposites in many ways. In this article, we cover just a few examples of where they differ.
President Obama established the Affordable Care Act (ACA) in 2010. Trump has pushed to overturn or repeal “Obamacare” since his early days in the White House. Conversely, Biden is keen to expand the program.
One of the most popular facets of the ACA is that it protects individuals with existing health conditions from higher premiums or refusal. Although Trump has promised to keep these protections in place, experts believe that might be a difficult task.
Medicare helps people over 65 years of age with their medical expenses, while Medicaid helps low-income individuals. Together, these programs provide coverage for 115 million people in the U.S.
Biden proposes lowering the Medicare eligibility age to 60, which would expand its reach to an additional 20 million people. He also plans to introduce a new Medicare-like public health insurance program.
Trump’s policy is to limit Medicaid, for instance, by imposing work requirements. He also plans to cut Medicare funding.
To reduce out-of-pocket costs, Trump has reduced premiums for Medicare Part D prescription drug plans.
Both Trump and Biden support the idea of lowering drug prices. They are also keen to deal with surprise medical billing.
Both mention the possibility of importing drugs from countries where they are cheaper. In an Executive Order, Trump also pushed for transparency in healthcare service pricing.
The President also suggests basing the price of some Medicare drugs on the lower costs seen in other countries.
Biden supports a bill that would allow Medicare to negotiate drug prices in the same way that private insurers can. However, the Trump administration promised to veto the bill, concerned that it might force drug manufacturers to spend less on researching and developing drugs.
Biden also attempted to prevent drug price hikes beyond inflation.
As the most significant health issue in the U.S. today, Trump and Biden’s strategies to fight COVID-19 are critical in the eyes of many voters.
Trump is keen to grant individual states autonomy to deal with the pandemic. He also encourages some states to reopen, despite scientific advice to the contrary.
Conversely, Biden seeks to bring control back to the federal government, taking his lead from scientists.
Trump has already increased the Medicaid Federal Medical Assistance Percentage by 6.2%, while Biden promises to extend this further.
Trump recently announced the Platinum Plan, which promises to “[i]ncrease access to capital in black communities by almost $500 billion.” This includes a commitment to invest in conditions that affect Black people more frequently, such as diabetes, sick cell anemia, and kidney diseases.
Biden pledges to ensure healthcare is available to everyone “regardless of gender, race, income, sexual orientation, or zip code.” He also plans to reverse the Trump administration’s “all-out assault on women’s right to choose,” and restore federal funding for Planned Parenthood.
Trump has no long-term plans to reduce racial healthcare disparities, but Biden promises to establish a permanent Infectious Disease Racial Disparities Task Force.
In March 2019, Trump signed an executive order that established a 3-year program: the President’s Roadmap to Empower Veterans and End a National Tragedy of Suicide.
Trump has also cut funding to Medicaid, the largest funder of mental health services in the U.S.
During his tenure as Vice President, Biden announced $100 million to boost access to mental health services. If he becomes president, “he will redouble these efforts to ensure enforcement of mental health parity laws and expand funding for mental health services.”
In an article this brief, it is impossible to flesh out both sets of policies and positions. Hopefully, however, this piece offers some insight. For a fuller description of the differences between the candidates, Healthline presents this exhaustive guide.