Politics

Joe Biden Rolls Out Health Plan In Contrast To Medicare For All Democrats

(Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

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Evie Fordham Politics and Health Care Reporter

Democratic presidential candidate and former Vice President Joe Biden’s campaign dropped his health care plan Monday, and the proposal would build on the Affordable Care Act (ACA) rather than attempt to dismantle it, as some of his rivals envision.

“I understand the appeal of Medicare for all, but folks supporting it should be clear that it means getting rid of Obamacare, and I’m not for that. … Starting over makes no sense to me at all. … I’m surprised that so many Democrats are running on getting rid of it,” Biden said in his health plan launch video.

Biden’s plan would offer a public option people can choose even if their employer provides their coverage. It would also expand ACA premium subsidies, tax drugmakers who raise their prices above inflation and establish an “independent review board” to recommend prices partially based on other countries’ prices for drugs bought through Medicare and the public option. (RELATED: Trump Admin Rule About Drug Prices In TV Ads Could End Up In The Hands Of Congress. Sen Joni Ernst Says She’s Ready To Help)

Biden’s desire to build on the ACA, an undertaking touted as one of the biggest achievements of the Obama administration, should come as no surprise. Biden said it would be “a sin” to kill the ACA and start over in a July 8 interview with CNN.

Former Vice President Joe Biden looks on as Sen. Bernie Sanders and Sen. Kamala Harris raise their hands during the second night of the first Democratic presidential debate on June 27, 2019 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

Former Vice President Joe Biden looks on as Sen. Bernie Sanders and Sen. Kamala Harris raise their hands during the second night of the first Democratic presidential debate on June 27, 2019 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

Biden’s plan could invite “potential controversy” because of the public option angle, reported Axios. Many states expanded Medicaid through the ACA framework, but others, typically red states, did not. Under Biden’s model, states that expand would keep paying “their current share” of expansion costs, which might reward states that did not take advantage of Medicaid expansion.

Meanwhile, 2020 hopefuls including Independent Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders and Democratic Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren are behind Medicare for all.

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