Welcome to the new year, friends!
Yesterday, as I watched Elizabeth Warren empower her fellow female democratic candidate in the last debate, I thought of you all. In this day and age, health and policy are often times inseparable, so it is important that we stay informed about the policies that could affect our healthcare coverage and access. A couple of years ago, Jimmy Kimmel hosted a segment where he asked locals if they preferred Obamacare or the Affordable Care Act (spoiler alert: they are the same thing). Alas, most people chose the latter. Thinking back to the second hand embarrassment of watching that episode, I wanted our empowering readers to be informed voters and advocates for the upcoming election. Thus, here is a summary of the healthcare policies that the democratic candidates of 2020 advocate for:
There are three broad approaches to healthcare in the 2020 election. The single-payer system (Medicare for All), the public option backers, and those advocating for a mix of the two. Here is a list of the candidates and what healthcare plan they hope to implement if elected:
SANDERS advocates for Medicare for All, a system that eliminates private insurance. The single entity that would pay for healthcare is the federal government. Coverage would expand to cover all people, including benefits that are not covered by current Medicare, such as long-term care. Deductibles, coinsurance, co-pays and surprise medical bills would be prohibited. Sanders plans to fund this policy through an employer-side payroll tax, which is a tax based off of the salary of the employee. He claims there should be no limits on abortion from the federal goverment.
WARREN also backs Medicare for All. She would fund it with higher taxes on the wealthy, and no new taxes for the middle class. Compared to Sander’s funding plan, Warren hopes to fund Medicare for All through employer contributions. This means that companies with over 50 employees calculate current average health insurance spending and pay 98 percent of that to the government. Thus, there is no direct tax to middle class health insurance consumers. She hopes to invest in federal funding to help tackle the opioid crisis, and plans to strengthen healthcare in rural communities through higher reimbursements to rural hospitals. She claims there should be no limits on abortion from the federal goverment, and she wants to repeal funding restrictions on abortion while preventing states from passing laws to restrict abortion access.
BENNET supports Medicare X, a plan expanding Obamacare and offering low-cost health insurance choices for people and small businesses. This plan provides another health insurance option that people could buy, starting from rural areas and slowly expanding until everyone has the option to use it. He claims there should be no limits on abortion from the federal goverment.
BIDEN hopes to expand Obamacare, adding a public health insurance option like Medicare. He plans to allow a premium-free option for those that would fall under Medicaid in certain states that do not recognize its current expansion. Biden’s stance on abortion has changed over time, the most recent indication being his vote on a late-term abortion ban in 2003.
BUTTIGIEG has a “Medicare for All Who Want It” plan where Americans can buy into the public plan. Similar to the Biden plan, those in states that refused to adopt the Medicaid expansion will be covered. He plans to keep private insurance around because he believes the public plan will influence private insurers to lower prices. If this does not happen, the plan will naturally become Medicare for All. He would reimburse providers for providing free care. He claims there should be no limits on abortion from the federal goverment.
DELANEY wants to keep private insurance and Medicare in tact, adding a public option for consumers under 65.
GABBARD supports Medicare for All, but also wants to keep private insurance — making her stance unclear. She claims there should be no limits on abortion from the federal goverment.
STEYER also wants a public insurance option, hoping to naturally drive out private insurers without forcing the public option on consumers.
YANG advocates for a transition to Medicare for All through subsidized public insurance. He wants to keep private insurance in tact, but hopes to provide most of the funding through the federal government. He claims there should be no limits on abortion from the federal goverment.
KLOBUCHAR also supports the public insurance option. She wants to prioritize mental health through early interventions and advocates for increased funding for schools and physicians to implement such efforts. She believes in implementing limits on abortion in the third trimester unless the woman’s health is at risk.
BLOOMBERG wants a Medicare-like public option administered by the federal government. This plan would be paid for by consumer premiums.
PATRICK advocates for a competitive public insurance option that is modeled after Medicare.
The democratic candidates all have a goal for decreasing healthcare prices, whether it’s a single payer system, public option or a mix of the two. They also want to decrease drug prices through various tactics, such as importing cheaper drugs internationally, revoking branded drug patents, or allowing Medicare negotiations with pharmaceutical companies.
Now that you are more informed about the health policies of our 2020 democratic candidates, you can handle any debate discussion, interview, or talk-show host that may come your way! Be sure to stay updated on the policies of the candidates as the election draws near. Consider what policies you would want to implement if you were president, and while you wait for your term in office, vote for the candidate supporting your policies because your vote matters.
Art by: Milo Mars