Health Care

Biden Releases Plan to Expand Obamacare Rather Than Embracing ‘Medicare for All’

Former Vice President Joe Biden speaks at Iowa Wesleyan University in Mount Pleasant, Iowa, June 11, 2019. (Jordan Gale/Reuters)

Former vice president Joe Biden released a plan Monday to expand the Affordable Care Act with a public option, separating himself from his progressive rivals who have endorsed various versions of a single-payer “Medicare for All” system.

The plan, which would cost $730 billion over ten years, would remove existing caps on healthcare tax credits to allow more middle class families to benefit, and would limit healthcare spending to 8.5 percent of total income for those who choose the public option.

During a campaign speech on Friday, Biden distinguished himself from Senator Bernie Sanders (I. Vt.) and the cohort of like-minded progressive primary candidates by emphasizing that his plan will allow Americans who are satisfied with their private insurance to keep it, unlike the “Medicare for All” system that would virtually eliminate the private market.

“We should not be starting from scratch. We should be building from what we have. There is no time to wait. And I that’s why I think, what I’m proposing — and we can do it — is to keep Obamacare, restore the cuts that have been made, and add a public option,” Biden said during an event in Dover, New Hampshire. “If they like their employer-based insurance, you get to keep it. The fact of the matter is, all the other proposals make you — you lose it. Period.”

The former Delaware lawmaker continued to emphasize that contrast in a video announcing his plan, expressing surprise that fellow 2020 candidates would be so quick to abandon President Obama’s signature policy achievement, the Affordable Care Act.

“I knew the Republicans would do everything in their power to repeal Obamacare. They still are. But I’m surprised that so many Democrats are running on getting rid of it,” he said.

The plan released Monday would also codify Roe v. Wade, limiting the ability of state’s to impose restrictions on abortion access and would repeal the Hyde Amendment, which prevents the direct federal funding of abortion.

If elected, Biden would seek to implement his plan through a combination of executive action and legislative reform.


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