Changes to Obamacare under the new administration
With every new administration come changes to philosophy when it comes to writing and influencing public policy – and not least among major public policy considerations is health care. And this is especially true when new administrations represent a change in the majority party.
The United States has seen stark differences in the approach to health care in recent years, with the Democrat-driven Affordable Care Act signaling a large-scale shift to the federal government’s participation in health care administration, while the Trump presidency’s Republican-driven changes sought to transfer power to the states and to private entities.
So what’s next? It’s time to look ahead and what Democratic President Biden has in mind when it comes to the next phase of American health care.
Five Key Facts about Biden’s Approach to Health Care
Let’s keep it simple: here are five main points you need to know about how President Biden is approaching the federal government’s participation in the U.S. health care system.
- Unified COVID-19 strategy
- Public option for health insurance
- Building on the Affordable Care Act
- Expanded eligibility for Medicare and Medicaid
- Controlling costs for services and prescriptions
Still with me? Now I want to take a closer look at each of these key areas of health care policy.
Unified COVID-19 strategy
First up: the pandemic. There’s little doubt that COVID-19 has been at the top of pressing health care concerns for more than a year. And whereas President Trump allocated the lion’s share of responsibility for attacking COVID-19 to the states – everything from testing to contact tracing and appropriate lockdown measures – President Biden has pushed for a more unified national approach.
Using the Defense Production Act, Biden has led the ramping up of mask, face shield and other PPE production, along with catalyzing a robust vaccination rollout across the country.
Public option for health insurance
One of President Biden’s key goals is to create a Medicare-like public insurance plan that anyone can buy into – an option he refers to as the “public option.” Though often compared to Medicare, this plan would be available to U.S. residents of any age and would be designed to compete with private insurance plans within the health care marketplace.
It’s worth noting that this is part of the original ACA law that did not make it into the final version. This option also could help close the gap for U.S. residents who make too much money to qualify for their state’s Medicaid program.
Building on the Affordable Care Act
President Biden has been clear from the early days of his presidency that he intends to build on the changes the Affordable Care Act made to the U.S. approach to health care. For example, while the current plan provides for federal subsidies only for households that make up to 400 percent of the Federal Poverty Level, President Biden aims to broaden that net to include higher-income households.
Expanded eligibility for Medicare and Medicaid
While together, Medicare and Medicaid today provide health care coverage for more than 115 million people, President Biden has been open about his plants to expand program eligibility for both. For example, the age for Medicare eligibility could be lowered to 60, along with making vision, hearing and dental coverage standard instead of part of supplemental policies. In addition, it’s likely that President Biden will pursue efforts to expand Medicaid eligibility.
Controlling costs for services and prescriptions
In this particular facet of health care, presidents Trump and Biden actually have a lot in common – both urging a decrease in prescription drug costs and surprise medical billing. For example, President Biden has indicated that he is in favor of having the federal government negotiate prescription drug prices on behalf of Medicare enrollees.
It seems safe to say that history will show dramatically different approaches to U.S. health care pursued by presidents Trump and Biden. Overall, President Trump’s tenure in office marked a significant scaling back of the federal investment and involvement in health care that was a marker of President Obama’s terms.
While it remains early days in President Biden’s presidency, it’s likely we’ll see continued changes to Trump-era health care policy throughout the remainder of Biden’s tenure – changes that are more in line with the philosophy of the ACA.
If you’re still unsure about how these changes might affect you, please let our team at Freedom Insurance Financial help. We have more than 20 years’ worth of expertise helping investors and their families identify the right insurance approach for them. We’re here to help whenever you need us.
What is the Trumpcare plan?
Trumpcare is the nickname for the American Health Care Act, a bill written by House Republicans as a replacement for the ACA in 2017. It has a few points in common with the ACA, but differs in a few key ways. First, the plan included no federal tax penalty for failing to enroll in an insurance plan and did not require plans to cover preventive care.
The AHCA also gave the states more flexibility in determining mandatory benefits and to manage Medicaid. It is worth noting that the AHCA was never passed into law – though it passed in the House of Representatives, it failed to gain the votes it needed in the United States Senate to partially repeal the ACA.
Is Obamacare still active in 2021?
For the most part, yes. The ACA remains in effect as of 2021, though the portion related to individual mandates was abolished in 2019. This means there is no penalty for failing to purchase health insurance.
Pros & Cons of Obamacare
The ACA was controversial for many audiences. Initially, its passing led to a rise in insurance premiums for some individuals. In addition, many taxpayers resisted the notion that they would face a tax penalty if they did not purchase a health insurance plan. It’s worth noting that this portion of the ACA was struck down in 2019.
The ACA also resulted in many Americans paying more taxes, while many others benefitted from coverage that would have not been possible without the act. However, some companies began cutting the hours of their workers so they could avoid paying for their insurance benefits. Many of these factors have changed over the years but the judge is out as to the pros and cons of the ACA for corporations vs individuals. To see whether or not you and your family could benefit from the ACA, give us a call at (407) 344-1228 . Freedom Insurance Financial is the leader in Obamacare plans and coverage in central Florida. Hablamos Español.