On Monday, Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden unveiled a new healthcare plan that seeks to build on the healthcare legislation signed into law by former President Obama.
Contrary to his fellow Democratic presidential candidates, Biden is not pitching a “Medicare for all” plan but is an Affordable Care Act 2.0 with expansions to Medicaid and a new government-run insurance option. The plan looks to keep vital elements of Obama’s initial plan like the protections for patients with pre-existing conditions.
While Biden is struggling to separate himself from the immigration politics of the former president, the former vice president is aligning himself with Obama’s work in the healthcare field.
“Biden would also empower Medicare to directly negotiate drug prices, allow the importation of prescription drugs from abroad and extend tax credits to help tens of millions of Americans buy lower-priced health insurance,” Politico reports.
The plan — which the campaign says will cost $750 billion over a decade, to be paid for by reversing some of the Trump administration’s tax cuts — is less transformative than the “Medicare for All” proposal advanced by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and supported by some other Democrats, which would effectively do away with private insurance and shift all Americans to government-run health care.
“I understand the appeal of Medicare for All,” Biden said in a video posted this morning. “But folks supporting it should be clear that it means getting rid of Obamacare. And I’m not for that.”
A senior Biden campaign official reportedly added, “We’re starting with the Affordable Care Act as the base and going to insist on the elements that we sought last time. And we’ll get them this time.”
Another spokesperson said the former vice president was also opting for expanding Obamacare, rather than pursuing Medicare for all, as appending a current plan is far quicker than writing and passing a new plan.
“We can’t afford the years it will take in order to write and maybe pass Medicare for All,” the spokesperson said in an email to Politico. “A stop in progress is unacceptable. That’s why the Biden Plan builds on Obamacare and works toward achieving universal coverage as soon as possible.”
Here’s more from the report:
Biden also will announce new ideas to combat the nation’s high drug prices. Pointing to lessons learned from his signature cancer initiative, the former vice president says he’ll have the Department of Health and Human Services establish an independent review board that will link the price of new specialty drugs to the average price in other countries. His plan also calls for capping most drug price increases at the rate of inflation.
Meanwhile, Biden would seek to expand access to abortion and contraception, reiterating his recent calls — like those of other Democratic candidates — to enshrine Roe v. Wade in federal law and restore federal funding for Planned Parenthood.