Since 2016, President Trump has repeatedly criticized the Affordable Care Act (ACA), but last week Trump abandoned plans to press for a vote to replace the ACA before the 2020 election. Meanwhile, several Democratic presidential contenders embrace the proposed “Medicare for All” approach to health care, believing it can help them defeat Trump’s re-election bid next year. Today we explore the history of health care in America and the great health care debate in the run up to the 2020 election.
The History of Health Care in America
The complicated health care system we know today evolved from humble beginnings. The earliest health insurance plans provided during the Civil War offered coverage against accidents related to travel. But these start-up plans eventually led to more comprehensive plans that covered illness and injuries.
The first health insurance policies for illness and injuries were provided in the mid to late 1800s, mostly for individual coverage. In the early 1900s, as treatment methods and remedies became more advanced, the idea of health insurance became more popular and several large life insurance companies entered the market, creating group policies through employers.
This arrangement worked for several years while the costs remained low. But as health care costs increased, due to advanced medical techniques and drugs, so did insurance premiums. And prices have continued to rise ever since.
President Trump Vows to End Obamacare
When the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, as it is commonly known, was first introduced, President Obama’s intent was to ensure that 30 million uninsured Americans had basic security when it comes to health care. After the Act cleared a number of hurdles, it was immediately challenged by several states because it mandated that individuals carry insurance or be penalized. In late 2016, insurance companies announced that they would be increasing premiums by 22 percent, triple the percentage increases over the previous two years.
President Trump vowed to bring down Obamacare during his 2016 presidential campaign.
In a tweet from April 3rd, President Trump wrote that he never planned a vote on a new health care package prior to the 2020 election. He intends to roll out a surprise plan during the election. The president is counting on the GOP retaking the House, which will provide him with enough votes to pass a replacement plan.
Democrats Embrace ‘Medicare for All’
Leading 2020 Democratic presidential hopefuls have embraced the proposed “Medicare for All” bill. Bernie Sanders introduced another version of the same bill during the 2016 election. Representative Pramila Jayapal outlines her version of “Medicare for All.”
Rep. Pramila Jayapal: My plan says, let’s take the existing, very successful Medicare system that already exists for seniors, let’s expand the kind of coverage that it offers–because that’s the biggest complaint about Medicare is it doesn’t cover things like dental, vision, mental health, substance abuse, some of those critical pieces–and then let’s extend it to everyone in the country.
The Heritage Foundation published a video of four things you should know about the “Medicare for All” plan:
- It would abolish virtually all public health plans and employer-sponsored coverage.
- Americans would be prohibited from spending their own money for medical care from a doctor of their choice.
- The new “Medicare for All” bill has no tax or funding provisions.
- Democrats say completion could take just two years.
Before you vote in the 2020 presidential election, understand all the facts about your health care options.