Many are frustrated with the state of health care in the US – an issue that’s taken center stage in the midst of a pandemic.
US health care is the most expensive in the world. So expensive that a health emergency can put a family into bankruptcy. Some Americans are covered by Medicaid or Medicare, two gov programs that help cover older, lower-income, and disabled Americans. Since 2014, Obamacare has let states expand who can be covered under Medicaid and tried to make it easier for people to buy insurance outside of employer-provided plans. Still, 8.5% of Americans (27.5 million people) are uninsured. And even those who are insured can face significant health care costs because of things like high deductibles or copays.
All of this means making health care more affordable and accessible is one of the most fiercely debated topics in politics. And a no. 1 issue for some voters. Some former Democratic presidential candidates have endorsed Medicare for All – abolishing private insurance and getting everyone in the US on a government-run plan. The move means everyone gets the same insurance, regardless of income. But others don’t see the benefit of taking a pen to the entire US health care system. They want to keep the private insurance market but let everyone who wants Medicare opt in. Meanwhile, many on both sides of the aisle – including President Trump – want to focus on lowering specific healthcare costs (like drug prices) rather than just the insurance part.
Health care is a vital lifeline to millions of Americans – and a very personal topic. Here’s where the candidates stand:
President Donald Trump
Supports lower prescription drug costs, health care costs
Anti-Obamacare; got rid of the individual mandate (which required most people to pay a fine if they didn't have health insurance), trying to scrap the full law
Against Medicare for All
Former VP Joe Biden
Expand Obamacare by offering a public health insurance option without scrapping private insurance
Let Medicare directly negotiate drug prices
Get prescription drugs from other countries to increase competition and lower pricing
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