The Next Four Years: Healthcare
By: Fauzia Haque, Contributing Writer
The transition to a presidency under Joe Biden and Kamala Harris has represented a new world for people within the country and people all around the world. Many see the transition of power as a place for hope and growth to develop better policies for improved lifestyles for all people, no matter race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, or gender. As expected, there will also be a change in healthcare policies and its affordability; what the Biden-Harris campaign hopes to accomplish within their next four years in office in order to better the current state of America’s healthcare systems is sure to be impactful.
Affordable Care Act
Biden plans to protect the Affordable Care Act that was instituted under President Obama’s presidency and build onto it in order to provide more Americans with affordability, simplicity, and flexibility. Through this, it is estimated that around 97% of Americans would be insured this way. Biden plans to provide another medical insurance provider, similar to Medicare, that serves as a better option to the older population. With this insurance, patients’ costs intend to be lower through negotiations with hospitals, coverage of primary care without co-payments, and it should alleviate small businesses in giving them more capability to provide for their own employees. Additionally, he plans to increase tax credits for those within 100% to 400% of the federally recognized poverty level in order to promote more affordable healthcare. This way, low-income citizens’ tax credits will be increased to lower premiums such as the gold plan where they will not have to pay more than a certain percentage of their income, and will have lower out-of-pocket costs. Biden hopes to eradicate the cap on middle class families’ (those that make above the 400% federal poverty level) tax credit eligibility and give them more financial coverage. This finalizes a broad statement that no family will spend more than 8.5% of their income on healthcare. With Biden’s plan in place, more working class Americans will also have full, premium-free access with the benefits one would get from Medicaid. Individuals making below 138% of the poverty level will also receive coverage through interaction with government and public institutions.
Affordable, Less Complex Healthcare
In addition to all of the benefits to be introduced above, Biden hopes to stop what is called “surprise billing,” which usually occurs when an individual has an out-of-network provider that ends of giving big “surprise bills” without the information that a certain treatment is out of their medical plan. He plans to prevent healthcare providers from doing this and surprisingly charging higher rates. Due to the monopolization of the healthcare industry, low competition signifies a drive for higher prices. Biden aims to use his antitrust authority, which is essentially a federal power to oversee the conduct of business corporations in order to promote more competition that would drive prices down. They also plan to partner with healthcare personnel across the country to improve job conditions and wages as well as treatment quality.
Ensure Affordable Prescription Drugs
In order to decrease the chances of prescription drug companies taking advantage of their patients, the Biden Administration plans to institute several restrictions and policies to limit their power. Initially, they plan to repeal the law that allows drug companies to avoid any negotiations with Medicare over the intensely high prices for prescription drugs. They plan to reduce prices for prescription drug companies that are in a market with no competition that allows for them to abusively raise prices. All brand generically priced drugs plan to be limited from increasing their prices above the inflation rate, and prescription drugs plan be imported from other countries for more competition. There is a plan for there to be a termination in tax deductions for all prescription drug ads, which includes an improval of safe and good quality generics, which reduces healthcare costs.
Another key goal of the Biden Administration is to make sure that healthcare is all-inclusive. They plan to remove the stigma of contraception and abortion by expanding access to it and making sure that its legality is maintained, even with constant opposition from pro-lifers. Roe v. Wade plans to get codified in order to reverse the bitter hostility that the Trump Administration and states have inflicted upon women’s reproductive rights. Planned Parenthood intends to be revived federally through restored endorsements from the federal government, as well as rescinding the Mexico City policy that is also known as the global gag rule that had been restored by President Trump. The Mexico City policy prohibits the U.S. government from helping out with global health issues, such as HIV/AIDS and malaria simply because the organizations that hand out this form of aid also contain information upon abortion and, in some ways, endorse abortion. However, with Biden in charge, his administration plans to reverse this cruel act and actually help out significant global medical crises that are ongoing in other developing countries. Furthermore, they plan to decrease the high maternal mortality rate that is especially present within women of color, namely impacting the black community the hardest. In order to reduce this, Biden plans to take California’s strategy of the inclusion of additional toolkits already prepared in case of emergency, like an obstetrical hemorrhage, and implement it nationwide. He enforces the basic human right that healthcare should be, and could be, under his presidency, nondiscriminatory, available to all, and defendable under the American government regardless of race, sexual orientation, or gender. Community health centers should receive increased funding from the federal government in order to expand its capability to have high-quality care items, and mental health plans to be prioritized. The efforts that were once made under his vice presidency regarding mental health will reappear once more, stronger, in order to truly implement and destigmatize mental healthcare while providing more access and endorsement to mental health facilities.
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