How the 2020 Elections Could Affect Your Health Insurance

Health insurance is often a key topic of discussion whenever election time rolls around. Here is how the 2020 elections could have an impact on your health insurance in the U.S.
By Andrew Glass
Updated Nov 4, 2020
Health Insurance 2020 Elections
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Health insurance is often a key topic of discussion whenever election time rolls around. With health care costs rise rapidly and at rates faster than incomes, it's no surprise why. But all proposals for enhancing the health insurance dilemma aren't created equally.

In fact, the 2020 elections can draw several differences and impact how health insurance looks on when a Republican candidate continues to run the country or if a Democratic candidate becomes president of the United States. Here's what the potential impact the 2020 elections could have on health insurance:

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Medicare for Less (and Increased Patient Payment Responsibility)

Should President Trump stay in office, you'll likely see reduced benefits when it comes to health insurance, particularly Medicare. That's because the president's proposal involves cutting Medicare spending by $845 billion over 10 years. The goal of these proposed budget cuts is to derail and eliminate wasteful expenditures or abuse and fraud. The program also calls for reducing spending on Medicaid. Trump's plan would look for ways to save on the price of drugs and change the reimbursement rates for hospitals. Some estimate that the savings can reach as high as $300 billion. Moreover, the plan includes the government allocating some of these savings to other health programs.

While advisors from the White House explain that the president's proposal does not change Medicare structurally or cut the program, other experts advise that the changes could adversely impact senior citizens and hospitals. If the government is no longer covering certain costs or reduces coverage significantly, it could potentially shift the payment responsibility to the patient and hospitals.

Medicare-X Choice (A Push Towards Single-Payer Coverage Expansion)

Democratic presidential candidate Michael Bennet's Medicare-X Choice plan may also impact health insurance by providing a way to lower public health care expenditure while still providing Americans with a choice of using private health insurance and a public option via the Affordable Care Act (ACA) marketplace. If Bennet wins the presidential election in 2020, Medicare-X may impact insurance by giving individuals who are not eligible for Medicare a more affordable option for health insurance.

The plan also provides small businesses with the option to their employees' health insurance. Moreover, the plan calls for extending premium subsidies to individuals who make more than four times the federal poverty level to help pay for coverage. The Medicare-X Choice Act would also enhance premium subsidies for those with low incomes.

Medicare-X is one of the many programs that push the expansion of health coverage by a single-payer and proponents like Democratic presidential Kamala Harris and Democratic Senator Tim Kaine also support this bill. However, opposers of this plan estimate that it could cost hospitals as much as $800 billion over the course of a decade since the plan calls for lower rates of reimbursement. That means Medicare-X has the potential to disrupt the current private health insurance market. But a study by the American Hospital Association (AHA) revealed that the number of individuals without insurance would only drop slightly with the implementation of Medicare-X.

Medicare-For-All (and Potential Boot of Private Insurance)

Healthcare under democratic candidate Bernie Sanders' Medicare-for-all bill paints a generous picture for Medicare recipients. Under Sanders' plan, Medicare would pay for all medical costs sans deductibles or copays. The proposed plan would also extend centralized pricing to private health insurance. That means your health insurance could potentially pay your health care provider much less than it does today---similar to how Medicare and Medicaid rates have a negotiated price far below standard rates for medication or health care services.

However, the drawback to this plan is that it can be very expensive to manage and implement. That's because the United States has some of the highest medical costs in the world. In fact, the United States spent the most money on public health of some of the wealthiest countries in the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) at $8,047 per capita, according to 2017 data from the OECD. That means the United States budgeted at least 14 percent of its gross domestic product (GDP) compared to a three-percent allocation of GDP---the least amount of GDP allocation by countries spending the most on public health care.

Moreover, experts estimate this plan may cost the country trillions of dollars. Sanders' plan also eliminates private health insurance that provides the same benefits as his Medicare for-All health insurance, which could mean that 180 million Americans would lose health insurance via their employers. So, that may mean you won't have the option to shop around for private health care coverage and may even lose your employer-provided health insurance.

Another drawback to this plan is that it could also mean that the government can trim down the types of benefits you get with your health insurance. The Medicare for All system could also cut back access to the types of medications or amounts you may need, should it require cost-sharing.

Final Thoughts

With so many candidates running to be the next presidential candidate for the Democratic party, there are also tons of proposals for altering health insurance. That means the impact on health insurance can vary greatly, depending on which candidate takes a seat in the Oval Office in 2021. So, it's important to pay attention to each candidate's stance on the matter for the upcoming 2020 presidential elections. Understanding each candidate's policy can help you better understand how these policies may impact health insurance in the future and what types of costs you can expect.

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