The 2020 presidential campaign has begun and health is a big part of it, with Democratic candidates pledging their support for “Medicare-for-all” and many of its variations.
Meanwhile, Republicans and Democrats are both promising to do something about drug prices and “surprise” medical bills. But whether they can translate that agreement on the broad problem to a detailed solution remains to be seen.
This week’s panelists for KHN’s “What the Health?” are Julie Rovner of Kaiser Health News, Joanne Kenen of Politico, Anna Edney of Bloomberg News and Kimberly Leonard of The Washington Examiner. Joining the panel for this week’s live show was Tom Miller of the American Enterprise Institute.
Among the takeaways from this week’s podcast:
The early jockeying among Democrats running for president is likely to overshadow any efforts to make changes to the Affordable Care Act or help stabilize its insurance marketplaces.
Legislative remedies for the ACA marketplaces are expected to hit the same roadblock that senators found in 2017: demands by conservatives that plans operating in those insurance exchanges be banned from offering abortion coverage.
Although the general idea of expanding Medicare garners high public support, if Democrats agree on a plan to push forward, it could be expected to meet strong opposition from the health care industry.
Republicans and Democrats have expressed interest in moving legislation to help lower drug prices. One area where they could find common ground might be revisions to the patent laws to help spur more lower-cost generic drugs.
Both parties also say they are concerned about surprise bills that patients receive after receiving medical care. Still, there is no consensus on how to approach the problem, and industry stakeholders are split on what remedies the country should take.
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