Former Vice President Joe Biden unveiled a healthcare plan Monday that boosts the Affordable Care Act (ACA) by adding a public option among other proposals, a sharp departure from several competitors in the Democratic primary for president pushing “Medicare for All.”
In addition to the public option, Biden’s plan would eliminate the 400% income cap to determine whether an ACA exchange customer is eligible for tax subsidies. It would also lower the limit on the cost of coverage from 9.86% to 8.5%.
“This means that no family buying insurance on the individual marketplace, regardless of income, will have to spend more than 8.5% of their income on health insurance,” according to the plan.
Biden also took aim at his more progressive opponents such as Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vermont, who are pushing for Medicare for All, which would turn Medicare into a single-payer system.
“I understand the appeal of Medicare for All, but folks supporting it should be clear that it means getting rid of Obamacare and I am not for that,” Biden said in a video on the plan. “I know how hard it is to get that passed. I watched it. Starting over makes no sense to me at all.”
The Affordable Care Act was a historic achievement. 20 million Americans gained coverage. Over 100 million with pre-existing conditions finally got protection. We can’t tear it down.— Joe Biden (@JoeBiden) July 15, 2019
So today, I’m releasing my plan to Protect & Build on Obamacare: https://t.co/RIhlOcOWK8 pic.twitter.com/laDUcIhRjM
Sanders hits back at Biden over 'misinformation' on Medicare for All
Sanders got into a spat with Biden Saturday over whether people would lose coverage in the transition to Medicare for All.
Biden has said that he does not want to “start over” by getting rid of the ACA and transitioning to the Medicare for All system. Sanders hit back in a statement Saturday that there wouldn’t be any gap in coverage during the transition to the new system.
I fought to improve and pass Obamacare.— Bernie Sanders (@BernieSanders) July 15, 2019
I traveled all over the country to fight the repeal of Obamacare.
But I will not be deterred from ending the corporate greed that creates dysfunction in our health care system. We must pass Medicare for All.
Sanders' campaign told CNN it was "preposterous" to argue that the transition to the new system would mean people with cancer and other illnesses don't get needed care.
Booker unveils long-term care plan
New Jersey senator and Democratic presidential candidate Cory Booker released Monday a plan to address high costs of long-term care and boost worker pay.
Booker’s plan would expand access to Medicaid assistance for long-term care services by increasing the income limit to 300% of the federal poverty level to qualify for Medicaid. “In addition, individuals that exceed the asset and/or income limits would be able to buy into the program, with cost-sharing determined on a sliding scale,” according to the campaign.
Booker said his plan would also require the traditionally underpaid long-term care workforce to be paid a minimum of $15 per hour, above the average of $11 an hour many workers now receive.
My new plan to expand access to high-quality, affordable long-term care, and to empower the workers who provide it: https://t.co/ui7ngw8Z4H— Cory Booker (@CoryBooker) July 15, 2019
House to vote on 'Cadillac' tax repeal this week
The House is expected to vote Wednesday on a bill that would repeal the ACA’s tax on high-cost healthcare plans, according to the House majority leader’s office.
The tax has never gone into effect and has been delayed several times. The latest delay expires in 2022.
The tax is one of the unique parts of the ACA that has foes on both the right and the left. Traditionally, Democratic constituents such as unions oppose the tax, because unions usually try to negotiate for high-cost health plans for workers.