President Trump and Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden have taken very different positions on a range of policy issues, including health care. Here’s where they stand.
Biden’s health care plan would greatly expand Obamacare’s subsidies to make the private insurance policies available on the exchanges more affordable. The plan would also create a new “public option” similar to Medicare that people could buy into.
“We’re going to add to it a public option. And the public option says whether you are having employer-based insurance or private insurance, or you’re in the exchange, you can join up for a Medicaid-Medicare-like provision in the law and not dump 300 million people on Medicare all of a sudden,” he said in July 2019.
Biden added that those covered by employer-based health insurance plans could also choose the public plan if they prefer it. “You can sign up and get this other plan,” he said. “But if you like (your private insurance), you’re able to keep it.”
Trump on Sept. 24 laid out what he called his “vision” for health care in America, but the two executive orders Trump said he was going to sign fall far short of a comprehensive proposal.
Trump said he was signing an executive order to protect Americans with pre-existing conditions, even as Trump and Republican lawmakers attempt to try to tear down the Affordable Care Act that already protects them.
The second executive order directs Congress to pass legislation to address surprise medical billing by the end of the year, and if lawmakers don’t achieve this, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar will seek to do so via executive or regulatory action.
Trump campaigned against the Affordable Care Act on the run-up to his presidency. While the Republican-controlled Congress failed to repeal the law, Trump has taken a number of executive actions to undermine it, including making it easier for Americans to access alternative policies that have fewer protections and benefits. The administration is also seeking to invalidate the landmark health care law through the courts.
Trump has promised to reduce drug prices and unveiled a blueprint to do so in 2018. Bucking long-standing Republican beliefs, the President is pushing to allow drug importation, particularly from Canada, and to tie the price of drugs in the US to their cost in other developed nations. However, several of his efforts have been stymied, including requiring drug makers to include their list prices in TV ads, which was nixed by a federal judge in summer 2019.
In an effort to lower health care costs overall, the administration also issued a rule requiring hospitals to post the rates they negotiate privately with health insurers, starting in 2021. A coalition of major hospital groups took legal action to block the requirement.