Election 2016 and the Fate of the Affordable Care Act
As the 2016 presidential race looms on, candidates, on both sides of the isle, have provided prospective voters with ideas of how health care in America will fair under their presidency. Candidates have adopted policies ranging from complete and utter repeal of every provision of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) to proposed single payer systems. Depending on the outcome this coming November, Americans may see an end to the insurance exchange or changes to established programs like Medicaid and Medicare. Below are brief summaries of Senator Sanders and Senator Cruz’s proposed health plans.
Senator Bernie Sanders: Senator Sanders’ health plan, Medicare For All: Leaving No One Behind, would provide health care coverage to all Americans in a “federally administered single-payer health care program.” Senator Sanders projects that this plan, which would cover the breadth of health care services from preventative care, primary care services and specialty long-term care, will cost an estimated 1.38 trillion dollars a year, according to Sanders’ campaign site. The health care program would be funded primarily by a progressive tax scheme with additional funding from employers and limited premiums for certain households. Sanders suggests that his health care plan will save most Americans $5,000 and will take away the anxiety of wondering if a service is covered or if a desired health care professional is in or out of network. Naturally, there are critics to Sanders’ plan claiming that the numbers proposed by his plan are too good to be true.
Senator Ted Cruz: It seems unclear whether Senator Cruz has officially offered a full health care plan; however, what is clear is that if Ted Cruz is elected president he will not rest until the ACA is repealed. Questioned about his health care plan in a recent Republic national debate, Ted Cruz highlighted three principles that would stand as the cornerstone of his perspective plan: 1) allowing citizens to purchase insurance across state lines; 2) expanding health savings accounts; and 3) severing health insurance from employment, making health insurance individualized and portable. During his debate response, Cruz did not indicate the costs his plan or proposed initiatives carry. Moreover, according to Slate.com, what was more noticeably missing from Cruz’s response was “[a]ny mention whatsoever of how patients with pre-existing conditions, who were routinely denied coverage by insurance companies prior to health reform, would be taken care of.” While removing restrictions of where Americans can purchase health insurance seems practicable; however, as of yet, Cruz has not mentioned how he would deal with the uninsured, underinsured or individuals that explicitly receive coverage because of the ACA. Critics to Cruz’s outlined principles seem to focus on the oversight mentioned by Slate.com, that Cruz’s “plan” does not account for many sectors of the population that the ACA specifically helped.
As the 2016 presidential race is sure to heat up in the coming months, it will be interesting to see how all the candidates plan to change America’s healthcare system.