Joe Biden, the supposed President-Elect gave his victory speech last weekend promising unity and a more connected America. To enact his vision, he believes he must undo everything that President Trump established, especially in the health care scene. What exactly does Joe Biden’s vision for the medical world look like and how will it affect you?
Joe Biden’s healthcare vision has been widely criticized by conservatives and progressives alike. What he calls Medicare for all, most see as a mere stepping stone to true “Medicare for all”. The presumed President-Elect believes that his plan will provide 97% of Americans with health coverage, through a Medicare esque program and increase the Affordable Care Act through bolstered subsidies. Biden’s plan strives to alter prescription drug pricing and raise taxes for his healthcare agenda. According to an analysis from the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, Biden’s plan would incur a total cost of $2.25 trillion and $800 billion in deficits for over a decade.
The first plan the presumed President-Elect would like to enact is reducing the qualifying age for Medicare from 65 to 60. In order to make such a proposition a reality, funding would have to come from tax revenues, rather than the Medicare trust fund (which is slated to run out out of money in six years). Lowering the Medicare age may reduce hospital costs and increase private insurance risk pools. However, Biden’s plan could also result in significantly lower reimbursements for hospitals, because Medicare pays far less than private insurance. Losing funding such as this could prove to be disastrous, killing vital revenue streams for healthcare providers; not to mention how damaging the increase of taxes and premiums may be for American families.
The next thing that Biden is proposing is the end of “surprise billing”. Last year Congress failed to pass legislation that would bar healthcare providers from billing customers out of the blue for surprise expenses. Presumed President-Elect Biden says that he will bar providers from charging any extra expenses when the individual has no choice of care during an emergency or ambulance services. Surprise billing will continue to be a prevalent issue during this trying season because many Americans will be filing for unemployment. Keep in mind however that Biden has been extremely vague on how he would do this, but if he succeeded, it would save upwards of $40 billion.
As stated before, Biden has a plan to boost the Affordable Care Act. He would like to see the removal of the current cap limiting subsidies for those making 400% of the national poverty level, translating to Americans paying no more than 8.5% of their income towards premiums. However, during Obama’s presidency, when the ACA was promised to reduce such premiums, they increased upwards of 40%. There is no reason, nor security that this won’t happen again. Providers see this as an opportunity to increase their operating rates and make marketing plans more tempting to beneficiaries.
Lastly on Biden’s list is his prescription medication reform. Prescription drug prices have skyrocketed over the last few years, making it difficult for Americans to pay for the medications they need. Roughly 1 in 4 Americans say that it has become increasingly difficult for them to purchase their medications, and it has become a bipartisan goal to reduce the costs of such medications. Biden’s solution involves following the democrat’s plan of removing the exception for drug corporations to negotiate with medicare on prices. Essentially, drug corporations are in charge of acquiring prescription medications in part D of the Medicare plan. Biden would also like to limit the launch prices of drugs that don’t face generic competition, through the establishment of an independent review board. This review board would watch prices in other countries, through external reference pricing.
Biden’s plans look beneficial on the surface, however, if you look deeper you will find that it will cause more harm than good. The financial future of America and her people is not something that should be handled flippantly. If the President-Elect were to succeed in enacting his plans, there is no telling what kind of irreparable damage America’s economy may sustain.