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How U.S. election could affect healthcare

What Healthcare Could Look Like After U.S. Election

October 19, 2020

The 2020 election is just two weeks away. And with millions of Americans having already cast their ballots, it’s pretty much already here. Healthcare is always among the top issues. And, in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, that’s certainly the case this year. 

In August, healthcare ranked as the second-most important issue to registered voters (behind the economy). With that in mind, we chatted with Chris Byrd, who is the executive vice president of strategy for WEX’s health division. Byrd provided valuable insight on what healthcare could look like if President Donald Trump is re-elected or if former Vice President Joe Biden is elected.

Trump re-election

Choice is at the center of the incumbent’s healthcare views. Just a few weeks ago, President Trump outlined his “vision” for healthcare, which included “more choice” for healthcare options. And, earlier this summer, his administration also asked the Supreme Court to strike down the Affordable Care Act (ACA), stating that the law is unconstitutional. The individual mandate of the ACA was effectively repealed (its penalty reduced to $0) by Congress in 2019 as part of tax reform.

“The administration is a big supporter of choice,” Byrd said. “That’s choice for insurers, employers, and healthcare consumers. In particular, President Trump has been a very big supporter of health savings accounts (HSAs). We’d expect that to continue in a second Trump term.

Byrd also said that reining in drug prices could be a focal point if Trump is elected for another four years. “That’s something Trump campaigned on in 2016,” Byrd said. “It’s really hard to wrestle that one to the ground. … If he were re-elected, I think he would make that a cornerstone of his health initiatives.”

Biden election

Having served as Vice President to Barack Obama, Biden was a central figure for an administration that ushered in the ACA. So it’s no surprise that Biden’s healthcare plan is to expand on the ACA. That includes giving consumers a public option, which they could choose between that or the private insurance they already have. 

“As opposed to Medicare-for-all or a single-payer system, Biden supports setting up a public plan that competes with private insurers for people’s business,” Byrd said. “People could then choose to opt out of their employer plan and buy into that public option.” 

Biden has also contrasted his plan to contain the COVID-19 pandemic with President Trump’s approach. Biden calls on a federally led effort that includes expanded contact tracing and testing. 

Polling today

Updated polling is becoming more and more frequent as we get closer to Election Day on November 3. For the latest polling, click here for: 

Would you like to hear more election insight from Chris Byrd? Listen to our Benefits episode previewing the U.S. election. 

The information in this blog post is for educational purposes only. It is not legal or tax advice. For legal or tax advice, you should consult your own counsel.

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