The main difference in health care policies between President Donald Trump and his Democratic opponent Joe Biden centers on Obamacare. But no matter who is elected president in November, the makeup of the new Congress will determine whether his health care agenda is implemented.
Those were among the takeaways from a Manatt Health webinar, “How Will The 2020 Election Results Impact Health Care?”
The two main health care issues in the Nov. 3 election are the future of the Affordable Care Act and the federal response to COVID-19, said Joel Ario, Manatt managing director.
Biden, who served as vice president under President Barack Obama, had a front-row seat when the Affordable Care Act took effect in 2014. Biden, a strong supporter of the ACA, wants to increase the tax credits that enable many consumers to buy coverage. He also favors expanding Medicaid, creating a federal public option to compete with private health insurance, and lowering the Medicare eligibility age.
Trump wants to appeal the ACA. He also wants to encourage the use of short-term limited-duration health plans and association health plans.
As for COVID-19, Ario said, Trump is emphasizing Operation Warp Speed, which aims to make a vaccine available quickly, and he supports economic reopening whenever possible. Biden also supports vaccine development, but is focused more on how to attain public confidence in that vaccine. As for reopening the country, Biden wants to secure the necessary stimulus funding to open schools and businesses.
Other highlights of the presidential candidates’ health policy platforms include:
With all 435 members of the U.S. House of Representatives and one-third of the U.S. Senate up for election this year, the makeup of the new Congress will be crucial in whether the president’s health care agenda becomes reality. Allison Orris, Manatt counsel, presented a breakdown of possible legislative scenarios under a Trump or a Biden presidency.
Congress either could end up with Democrats controlling both chambers, with Republicans controlling both chambers, with a continuation of the current Democratic-controlled House and GOP-controlled Senate, or a flip with Democrats taking the Senate and Republicans taking the House.
Orris outlined several possible health care priorities that would take place under a number of possible scenarios.
On Nov. 10, the Supreme Court will hear arguments in the case of California v. Texas, a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the ACA. Orris said a post-election Congress can control the ACA’s fate. Congress could pass legislation before the court reaches a decision, making the court case moot. These legislative options include:
- Change the individual mandate penalty from $0 to an amount that would generate revenue for the government.
- Repeal Section 5000A of the Affordable Care Act, the individual mandate.
- Pass legislation severing the individual mandate from the rest of the ACA.
- Pass health reform legislation that replaces the ACA.
Susan Rupe is managing editor for InsuranceNewsNet. She formerly served as communications director for an insurance agents' association and was an award-winning newspaper reporter and editor. Contact her at Susan.Rupe@innfeedback.com. Follow her on Twitter @INNsusan.
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