This article was updated on October 21, 2020.
With Medicare a big issue in the upcoming Presidential election, where does each candidate land on healthcare issues? There are many complex pieces involved, and it takes time to make changes.
One complicating factor is the issue of Medicare Part A insolvency. Medicare Part A is running out of money, and could become insolvent before 2026. Lawmakers and the President are going to have to come up with a plan to make sure Medicare lasts and remains able to meet the needs of seniors going forward.
In addition, hearings are upcoming on overturning the Affordable Care Act (ACA), which affects Medicare. Getting rid of the ACA could potentially increase Medicare costs.
Nevertheless, both Trump and Biden have made statements clarifying where they see the country moving as far as Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security. Here are the proposals that each candidate highlights.
Joe Biden’s campaign has focused on the following Medicare and health issues:
- Build onto and strengthening the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare)
- Introduce a Medicare-like public option where anyone can buy into Medicare
- Increase funding to states for Medicaid expansion
- Expand Medicare — allow Americans age 60 to 64 to buy into Medicare
- Enhnce Medicare to cover dental, vision, and hearing
- Increase Social Security benefits for lower-income Americans
- Increase annual Social Security benefit payments for seniors age 78 to 82
- Increase the amount widows and widowers receive from Social Security by 20 percent
- Lower prescription drug prices by allowing Medicare to negotiate with pharmaceutical companies, cap drug price increase rates, and allow Americans to purchase cheaper medications from other countries
- Provide a $5,000 tax credit to caregivers who take care of spouses or parents; invest $775 billion in child and elder care
- Revise tax incentives for retirement plans, and increase tax benefits for lower-income Americans
The Trump administration has yet to release a concrete health plan. In fact, the number of uninsured Americans has risen for each year he has been President. In addition, the public views Trump’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic in a negative light. Though there is no distinct Trump health plan in place, here are some of the things Trump has focused on as far as healthcare changes for America:
- Expand telehealth for Medicare beneficiaries
- Make cuts to Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security
- Avoid Medicare for All or a public option, since those are seen as radical and giving the government too big of a role in people’s healthcare
- Repeal and dismantle the Affordable Care Act
- Create more choices on the healthcare marketplace
- Promote price and quality transparency in healthcare
- Lower prescription drug costs and insurance premiums, align costs with those of other countries
- Allow importing of prescriptions
- Eliminate surprise billing
What to know
Note that most of the bullet points above are proposals that the Presidential candidates have listed as ideas to change healthcare in America. These are not guarantees for either candidate.
For more information, the JAMA Network recently published a clear rundown of Trump’s and Biden’s records on major healthcare issues such as COVID-19, the ACA and Medicaid, prescription drug prices, reproductive health, and immigration and healthcare.