Although health care was a motivating factor for many voters in the 2018 midterm elections, the politicization of the COVID-19 pandemic and a lack of agreement within the Democratic and Republican parties on future health care reform has muddied the waters for candidates running in the 2020 general election, pundits observed during a recent panel at the America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP) National Conference on Medicare, Medicaid & Dual Eligibles. And the first presidential debate, which took place on Sept. 29, only further solidified the expectation that a large-scale overhaul of the health care system is unlikely under either candidate.
The first question of the on-air, in-person debate related to President Donald Trump’s plan to immediately replace late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg (see brief, p. 8), but things quickly exploded into a debate about the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Trump accused former Vice President Joe Biden and the Democratic Party of wanting “socialist medicine” and the elimination of private health care. Biden clarified that his proposal for a public option is “only for people who are so poor they qualify for Medicaid” and that his intent is to “expand Obamacare” and let people keep their private insurance.