Joe Biden will be the next president of the United States.
For those of us in healthcare, there has been some curiosity about how a new president with very different ideologies might influence the healthcare industry.
In this blog post, we’ll walk through some of the biggest differences and changes we can expect with a Biden presidency.
The Affordable Care Act isn’t going anywhere. With Biden, we can expect the key tenets of the ACA to be strengthened and expanded.
The Joe Biden campaign website explains that this will be accomplished through:
- Developing a public option for health insurance, similar to Medicare, that can be purchased through the exchanges.
- Increase tax credits to lower premiums, by ensuring that people buying plans on insurance exchanges will only have to pay 8.5% of their income on monthly insurance premiums.
- Further expanding Medicaid enrollment to include people earning less than 138% of the poverty level, and by enrolling eligible persons automatically when they enroll in school or participate in government low-income programs.
Biden’s plan will not permit healthcare providers to charge patients out-of-network rates when the patient doesn’t have any control over who they see. For example, in a hospital or emergency situation, the patient isn’t able to ensure they only receive care from doctors in their insurance’s network.
Under the Biden administration, large healthcare organizations will be investigated for anti-trust violations to identify opportunities to increase competition and lower prices in areas where healthcare organizations are highly consolidated.
Improving the Healthcare Workforce
Many workers in healthcare don’t earn enough to adequately provide for their families, and yet they are a critical aspect of the healthcare industry. CNAs, Environment Service Employees, Care Technicians, and many others, are the vital players of healthcare’s most important yet least glorious work. Biden’s healthcare strategy would work on ensuring low-earning healthcare workers are paid a livable wage and be better empowered to deliver quality care and support in the life-sustaining work they perform.
Biden plans on implementing the following strategies to address the high costs of pharmaceuticals:
- Allow Medicare and Medicaid to directly negotiate with drug manufacturers to lower healthcare costs for these public programs.
- Allow patients to purchase medications from other countries where they can buy it cheaper.
- Limit price increases for pharmaceutical drugs.
- Terminate the tax break on advertising spend for pharmaceutical companies.
- Improving the supply and manufacturing of generic medications.
The Biden administration intends to double the federal funds invested into community health centers, healthcare providers who serve a disproportionate amount of impoverished patients.
With plans to enforce mental health parity laws, and expand funding for mental health services around the nation, the Biden administration intends to further decrease the stigma associated with receiving mental health treatment, and improve access to that treatment.
When it comes to the current pandemic, Biden’s plans include free testing and screening for the disease, as well as a greater investment and focus around making testing as accessible and quick as possible. His plans include drive-by testing, at-home testing, and the development of instant testing. The Biden administration also intends to create 100,000 public health jobs for Contact Tracers, and deploy those throughout the country to better track the spread of the disease.
Obviously, we knew the strategies and methods for improving healthcare and addressing specific challenges would change with someone different in the White House. However, it appears that the primary goal is unchanged: to help Americans receive high-quality healthcare, and live happy and healthy lives.
No one knows what the future holds. One thing we can be confident in is that caring healthcare providers will continue to serve their patients, and put their lives on the line for us all as they battle the ongoing pandemic. Through this uncertain period of transition, we can all hold onto the hope that brighter days are truly ahead for the future of healthcare in America.