One of the key points that concern Americans everywhere when comparing the two potential presidential candidates is their stance on healthcare. Both President Trump and former Vice President Biden have made their plans for altering the current state of affairs fairly clear, and the tacts they both plan to take could not be more different.
Since President Trump’s inauguration in 2017, he has been attacking the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) and working to “repeal and replace” what he declared to be an unconstitutional approach to healthcare. His initial attempt to dramatically do away with Obamacare was thwarted, and he and his administration have since chosen to dismantle the Affordable Care Act bit by bit, rather than all at once.
Some ways that this has been done is in eliminating the “individual mandate”, which is the requirement that all Americans either be on a healthcare plan, or pay a significant penalty. This was intended to keep healthcare premiums low by flooding the insurance marketplace with healthy consumers. Trump reduced the penalty to $0, and insurance premiums rose in response, as healthy individuals chose not to have insurance, and the pool of insurance users grew smaller and sicker. This mandate has yet to be settled, as the issue is still under discussion in several courts.
Another big change made by President Trump removed the ban on Medicaid adding work requirements to their plan, effectively giving Medicaid the ability to kick people off of Medicaid for being unemployed or not working a certain amount of hours. This is another controversial move that is likely going to be decided in the Supreme Court.
Several other changes have been made to the ACA, and this some claim that this has made American citizens who rely on Medicaid and other forms of government healthcare uneasy, as the changes to policy result in a level of uncertainty.
If President Trump continues to hold office in 2021, he has declared his intention to reduce the costs of prescription drugs and insurance premiums, as well as creating more coverage for American citizens that have preexisting conditions. He has been unclear about the exact method he plans to use to dismantle the Affordable Care Act, but what has been extremely evident is that he intends to do away with it, as he has reiterated that it is, in his opinion, “unconstitutional” and “too expensive”.
President Trump has pledged to issue every American on Medicare essentially a $200 gift card for prescription drugs while policies for prescription drug reform are being put into place.
According to Trump’s campaign site, he also is envisaging a future in which the individual, whether patient or doctor, is in charge of their healthcare, “surprise billing” is banned, and veterans are protected and provided with “world-class” healthcare and services.
Surprisingly, the plans both candidates have shared have at least one shared goal. Former Vice President Joe Biden has also made clear his intention to reduce prescription drug costs, by creating an independent commission to regulate drug costs and simultaneously removing tax breaks being given to pharmaceutical companies.
The similarities end there, as Biden plans not on removing and repealing the Affordable Care Act, but rather reinforcing and enlarging it. He plans to add a public option plan that would allow all Americans to have premium-free healthcare that is similar to Medicare, regardless of any other insurance options available to the individual. Biden has mentioned that undocumented immigrants will be given access to this public option plan as well. His administration would also be removing the income cap that determines eligibility for a tax credit that assists in paying for insurance premiums.
While Trump has taken steps to separate government funding and abortion, Biden plans to resume financial support of Planned Parenthood, and allow federally funded abortions. Biden has shared a 775 billion dollar plan for child and elder care that will shorten waitlists for patients requiring home care, and allocating tax breaks for caregivers of elderly family members.
Finally, Biden intends to create a public health jobs corps that would employ hundreds of thousands of American healthcare workers to serve in prevention of diseases in communities that are currently understaffed, care for veterans, and combat addictions.
No matter which man finds themselves seating in the Oval Office come January, we can expect big changes in the healthcare world. But something that will be around no matter the man in the office is Remote Patient Monitoring. With the advent of Covid-19, huge advances have been made in the world of telehealth. RPM uses digital technology to collect health information from patients and electronically transfer that data to their health care providers, who are then able to assess needs and make prescriptions for care. This ability to care for and monitor patients remotely has been an amazing asset in reducing the amount of in-person doctors appointments and ongoing visits required by doctors.
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Brianna Connors & Derek Archer Co-Editors