In November’s 2020 presidential election, we will most likely be choosing between Donald Trump and Joe Biden. The candidate chosen to be our next president will have a big influence on the future of Medicare – so let’s see what each candidate has in mind.
Trump and the Republicans
According to Republican Views on the Issues, Republicans often believe that Medicare reform is needed because Medicare in its current state is unsustainable. To make Medicare more sustainable, Republicans may support moving away from the current defined-benefit entitlement model and toward a defined-contribution model. At the same time, many Republicans believe it’s important to give Medicare participants choices.
Under the Trump administration, many changes to Medicare have already been made. According to Health Affairs, Trump’s Medicare policies have been focused on choice and competition. New policies are designed to increase transparency for hospital prices and prescription drugs and to decrease regulatory paperwork.
CMS has also announced that under the Trump administration, Medicare Advantage plan options have increased while costs have decreased. Medicare Advantage plans are also able to provide additional telemedicine and supplemental benefits.
At the same time, cuts to Medicare are possible. According to Politifact, while Trump has said that he will not cut Medicare, some claim that his budget proposal included cuts to Medicare, although Politifact’s analysis indicates that the actual proposal was a bit more complicated, and the changes would likely impact providers rather than beneficiaries.
Biden and the Democrats
Among many Democrats, the push has been for Medicare for All. Several different proposals have been put forth, including one by Democratic primary candidate Bernie Sanders. According to KFF, the proposals can be grouped into five categories, ranging from a single national insurance program for all U.S. residents to a Medicare buy-in option for older individuals who remain eligible for enrollment in Medicare.
However, not all Democrats support Medicare for All, especially in its more extreme forms. According to CNBC, Biden has said that he would veto Medicare for All, citing the cost as one problem. However, this does not necessarily mean that he would be against all proposals for Medicare expansion, and Forbes reports that Biden has suggested lowering the Medicare eligibility age to 60.
The Joebiden.com page on healthcare lists many plans for our nation’s healthcare system. Here are just a few highlights:
- Protecting the Affordable Care Act
- Limiting price increases for brand, biotech and abusively priced generic drugs to inflation as a condition of Medicare participation
- Repealing the law that bans Medicare from negotiating drug prices
- Creating a public option like Medicare
Stay Engaged and Informed this Election Year
Of course, these are broad descriptions of each candidate’s position. Hopefully, both Trump and Biden will share additional details about their ideas for Medicare as we get closer to Election Day.
We encourage you to stay informed and to vote for the candidate of your choice. Also, be sure to follow us on Facebook to keep informed of news affecting Medicare and seniors.