By Emma Reilly
Elm Staff Writer
As we approach the 2020 presidential election on Nov. 3, former Vice President Joe Biden’s plan to protect and expand the 2010 Affordable Care Act has taken the journalistic spotlight.
Biden hopes to strengthen the health care provisions currently provided by the Affordable Care Act by introducing a public option and lowering the current spending rate.
“[The inclusion of a public option] would allow middle-income, working-age adults to choose a public insurance plan — like Medicare or Medicaid — instead of a private insurance plan,” Margot Sanger-Katz with The New York Times said.
Bidencare will “insure an estimated 97% of Americans,” CNN’s Tami Luhby said.
In recent months, the Biden-Harris campaign has faced direct, preemptive challenges to its health care goals. The Trump administration’s continued efforts to repeal Obamacare — and, more strikingly, to invalidate the law in the Supreme Court — pose pointed threats to the Bidencare plan.
These attempts to end Obamacare jeopardize the health care protections of more than 22 million Americans, including those with pre-existing conditions.
But opposition isn’t just coming from Republicans. Many progressive Democrats believe that the moderate approach the former vice president has proposed misses the mark. Those who supported the platforms of primary candidates Sen. Bernie Sanders and Sen. Elizabeth Warren feel it’s too far a cry from the “Medicare for All” approach.
Biden, however, continues to defend his claim that “Medicare for All” is too swift a change for the nation to handle. Bidencare “serves as a transitional piece of legislation,” Marianna Sotomayor with NBC News said. While it could “pave the path to a Medicare-for-All … system in the future,” it is intended to promote gradual change.
Bidencare will reinstate the individual mandate, which penalizes American citizens who choose to remain uninsured. While this doesn’t require health care coverage for all, it certainly encourages it.
The plan’s “expanded coverage [will be] paid for by tax increases on the wealthiest Americans,” Bill Barrow and Thomas Beaumont with AP News said.
Biden plans to pay for his plan by repealing Trump’s tax cuts for the rich, another fact that progressives may find encouraging.
Some Democrats dismiss Bidencare as an ineffective and overused attempt to remind voters of the Obama-Biden administration.
Is Bidencare just Obamacare, rehashed?
Some say yes. Marianna Sotomayor with NBC News went so far as to call the former vice president’s plan “The Affordable Care Act 2.0” — but this conclusion fails to take into consideration the fact that Biden is planning to enforce a number of fundamental changes to the existing law.
“Biden’s plan is actually slightly bolder than he makes it sound; linking it to the barely popular Obamacare only lessens its appeal to progressives and swing voters alike,” Salon’s Bill Curry said.
There is no right answer when it comes to health care, but Bidencare, despite criticisms, seems apt enough to extend insurance to more Americans in a way that minimizes the anxiety associated with drastic reform.
Characterized by increased subsidies, lower premiums, and the elimination of the upper-income limit, Bidencare will drastically expand health care coverage in the United States. The proposed changes to the Affordable Care Act also include “significant aid for long-term care, rural health, and mental health,” according to The New York Times.
“One of the defects of our [current] system is that it’s complex and confusing, and those who need help the most are often the least able to navigate their way to getting it,” Paul Krugman of The New York Times said.
Bidencare will automatically enroll low-income Americans, which will reduce this complexity. Most importantly, implementation of the Bidencare plan — whether as a transitory phase for universal health care or as a permanent change — would combat the harmful actions the Trump administration took against health care access in the past four years.
Featured Photo caption: Former Vice President Joe Biden’s health care plan, dubbed “Bidencare,” has been criticized for not being radical or all-encompassing enough. Photo Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.