Throughout his presidential campaign, it was made very clear that Biden’s health insurance plan isn’t Medicare for everyone. Instead, Joe Biden intends on building upon the Affordable Care Act (ACA) to make a public option and keeping private insurance for people who want it. His campaign made a joint task force with supporters and allies of Sen. Bernie Sanders, his former rival in the Democratic primaries.
The task force gave its recommendations in a 110-page letter, including a section on the best way to make a public option.
“Private Insurers require real competition to make sure they have an incentive to offer affordable, quality coverage to every American,” the task force said. “To accomplish that objective, we’ll give all Americans the option to pick a high quality, affordable public choice through the Affordable Care Act market.”
The document mentioned that Biden’s public option should provide at least one plan with no deductibles regulated by Medicare and cover all primary care with no co-pays. It also needs to negotiate with hospitals and physicians for costs for other treatments, much like Medicare.
“Amid this COVID-19 pandemic and Trump’s recession, Democrats will do it to expand coverage to those who need it, such as the recently unemployed and the long run,” the plan said. “When the public option becomes law, it’ll be available on the Affordable Care Act market for many Americans to choose.”
A Unique Proposal
A senior policy director at the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget (CRFB), Marc Goldwein says, these policy recommendations are entirely consistent with a CRFB analysis from January 2020, which discovered that it would cost around $2.25 trillion over a decade.
The analysis discovered that Biden’s health insurance plan would “reduce costs by $450 billion” and “raise $1 trillion through additional and direct offsets,” while adding $800 billion to deficits over a decade.
“It’s possible having the public option with no deductible whatsoever will push up prices some comparative to our score, but that really depends upon the co-pay scheme and the payments rates,” said Goldwein.
A vital component of these unveiled recommendations focuses on Medicare. Older workers wouldn’t need to wait until they’re 65 to register in Medicare, which is current law. Under these proposals, once they get 60, they will have the option of Medicare, the public option, or staying in their employer-sponsored policies.
A senior fellow at the Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF), Karen Pollitz, stated that reducing the age of Medicare eligibility is a “distinct proposal,” noting that these proposals at large “could provide low-income employees access to more affordable coverage choices than they could possibly be offered on the job.”
While these programs would increase coverage, Goldwein reported the fiscal consequences of this will depend on the particulars. “Though it will cost somewhere between $0 and $200 billion over ten years,” he said, estimating that it could be “less than $100 billion and maybe less than $10 billion” if envisioned as a buy-in.
What’s “In and Out” of Biden’s Health Plan
In his new strategy published on Monday, Biden suggests including a “Medicare-like” public option that would function as an alternative for customers for health insurance. Americans would pay a lower income to obtain it and would have the ability to pick their own insurance.
Biden campaign officials say the medical care program serves as legislation that could make the path to a Medicare-for-All single-payer system in the future.
Here’s a brief look at what is “in and out” of Biden’s updated health insurance plan:
What’s In- The Individual Mandate
President Trump escaped from the individual mandate when he acknowledged the GOP tax bill into law, Donald Trump got rid of the mandate. Biden would bring back the fine for not being insured under his plan under health insurance.
Since the individual mandate currently isn’t federal law, a Biden campaign official said he would use a mix of executive orders to reverse the modifications and use his “longstanding history of getting things done in Congress to get legislation to build the Affordable Care Act.”
What’s Out- Spending Rate
Biden’s health insurance plan allows consumers to get into the individual marketplace and take their health care provider of choice. To expand access even on this front, the plan will only allow consumers to invest 8.5 percentage of their income. When paying for insurance, under the Affordable Care Act, customers could spend nearly 10 percent of the earnings.
What’s In- Reducing Prescription Drug Pricing
To reduce the skyrocketing costs of prescription drugs, Biden’s health insurance plan would repeal legislation that restricts Medicare from negotiating lower prices with drug manufacturers. According to a Biden campaign official, he would also limit cost increases” for all brand, biotech, and abusively priced generic drugs” and set prices for drugs that don’t have competition.
Consumers would have the ability to purchase cheaper priced prescription drugs from other nations, which could help mobilize competition. Also, Biden would end their advertising tax break in an attempt to also help reduce costs.
What’s In- Undocumented Immigrants Can Buy-in
Biden’s health insurance plan would allow undocumented immigrants to purchase into the option, but it wouldn’t be subsidized. Counting undocumented immigrants in his healthcare plan show how the Democratic Party has come into the problem in only a decade. The Affordable Care Act, for example, didn’t let undocumented immigrants buy plans from the system.