August 28, 2020
COVID-19 has made healthcare policy the hot topic of the 2020 election. As healthcare public relations professionals, it’s always top of mind for us and our clients. We’ve got two very different candidates heading into the November election: President Donald Trump (R) and former Vice President Joe Biden (D). Let’s take a look at how they match up on key issues:
President Donald Trump
President Trump has had to manage the country during a healthcare crisis where millions of Americans have lost their jobs, and subsequently their healthcare coverage. In an attempt to combat this, Trump signed legislation to make COVID-19 testing free for unemployed citizens. While he hasn’t established any concrete policy, the administration told providers it would cover costs to treat uninsured COVID-19 patients. In his recently announced agenda, Trump aims to have a COVID-19 vaccine developed by the end of 2020 with the country “returning to normal” in 2021. Regardless of the Trump administration’s efforts, access to testing has been incredibly difficult for many and more than 175,000 Americans have died from the virus to date.
Since his 2016 campaign run, President Trump has been working to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA). While ultimately unsuccessful, the administration has managed to eliminate the individual mandate, effectively eliminating the tax penalty on Americans for not having health coverage. Passed in 2018, the Trump administration has expanded access to care for individuals with life-threatening diseases or conditions who have exhausted all approved treatment options through the Right to Try Act. President Trump is also working to reform funding for Medicaid. As part of his newly announced agenda, Trump plans to end surprise billing and lower health insurance premiums.
Drugs have also been a major talking point for the Trump administration, both in his 2016 campaign and now. President Trump declared the opioid crisis a nationwide public health emergency, mobilizing his administration to address opioid abuse and drug addiction. He has been a major proponent of lowering prescription drug costs and increasing transparency in drug pricing, signing four executive orders earlier this year. Similar efforts have been made for healthcare costs and pricing overall.
Former Vice President Joe Biden
While former Vice President Biden does not currently hold Congressional office, he has been vocal about free COVID-19 testing and investing in new tools to expand how testing is done. Taking a different approach to President Trump, Biden wants to implement a national COVID-19 testing strategy as opposed to largely letting the states manage their programs. Biden looks to ramp up U.S. production of personal protective equipment to ensure providers and other essential workers aren’t faced with another shortage. With the world waiting for a vaccine, Biden plans to invest $25 billion in a manufacturing and distribution plan that ensures every American is vaccinated for free.
Serving under former President Barack Obama, Biden helped mold and pass the ACA and would look to expand it by offering a public option, greatly helping out the estimated 5.4 million Americans who have lost coverage. Biden’s plan is a different approach than the widely debated single-payer “Medicare for All” system as it doesn’t eliminate private health insurance. Biden would also lower the Medicare eligibility age from 65 to 60 to ensure coverage for the aging population. Biden has also been incredibly vocal about women’s healthcare rights, ensuring that his public option will cover contraception and a woman’s right to choose, as initially protected by the ACA. While Republicans across the country have tirelessly attacked Planned Parenthood’s financial stability, Biden plans to restore the organization’s federal funding.
To help control runaway drug prices, Biden would give Medicare the power to negotiate drug costs with pharmaceutical manufacturers. While Trump and Biden both want to lower drug prices, Biden is open to allowing citizens to fill their prescriptions in other countries so as to increase competition and decrease costs. Biden also plans to limit launch prices for novel drugs that have no competition leaving manufacturers open to abuse pricing. With an eye toward keeping pharmaceutical organizations accountable, Biden aims to terminate tax breaks for advertising drugs and make sure they pay their fair share in taxes.
In the next few weeks, the candidates will face off for the first presidential debate of the season and we will surely hear more about their healthcare plans for the country. Regardless of who is elected, we at Aria anticipate that any new healthcare regulations and policies will greatly impact our clients and the entities they serve.
With the hopes of making sure our voices are heard, Aria has given employees Election Day off to ensure nothing stands in the way of voting whether it be by mail, in-person or voting early wherever available. Be sure you’re prepared for November 3 by registering to vote and taking note of voter deadlines, guidelines and requirements. For more updates on the latest healthcare policies and their impact, follow Aria on Twitter @ariamarketing.