With the Supreme Court poised to decide the future of the Affordable Care Act and the Senate set to confirm President Trump’s third appointee to the high court, Judge Amy Coney Barrett, health care was a key topic during Thursday night’s debate. Mr. Trump and Democratic nominee Joe Biden were asked to detail their health care plans should the justices vote to kill the Obama-era health care law.
Biden said he would push for a version of the Affordable Care Act that includes a public option, deeming it “Bidencare.” Biden said his health care proposal would also allow Medicare to negotiate drug prices with insurance companies and reduce premiums.
“He’s never come up with a plan,” the former vice president said. “I guess we’re going to get the pre-existing conditions plan at the same time we’ll get the infrastructure plan.”
Biden conceded his plan will cost $750 billion over 10 years, but will reduce prescription drug prices and address surprise billing.
Mr. Trump said the public option means “socialized medicine.”
“He’s talking about destroying your Medicare and destroying your Social Security, and this whole country will come down,” the president said.
Biden pushed back, though, and stressed he split from the Democratic presidential candidates who supported Medicare for All, including his running mate Senator Kamala Harris, who was his rival in the Democratic primaries.
“He’s a very confused guy,” Biden said. “He thinks he’s running against somebody else. He’s running against Joe Biden. I beat all those other people because I disagree with them.”
For his part, Mr. Trump criticized the ACA and praised Republicans in Congress for excising the individual mandate from the law. He also said he asked his administration to “run [Obamacare] as well as you can,” and said the cost of premiums have declined.
But if the Supreme Court finds the individual mandate unconstitutional and rules the rest of Obamacare cannot stand without the provision, Mr. Trump said he would put forth a “brand new, beautiful health care” plan — without offering any specifics.
“Always protecting people with pre-existing [conditions],” the president said. “We’re going to do even better.”
Mr. Trump declined to put forth additional details. He has long promised to unveil a replacement for the ACA but has not done so.
Democrats have raised concerns that, if confirmed to the Supreme Court, Barrett would vote to overturn the ACA. She has previously criticized Chief Justice John Roberts’ 2012 ruling upholding the law. During her confirmation hearings last week, Barrett declined to weigh in on the constitutionality of the law, since there is a case on the ACA is pending before the Supreme Court.
However, the president has repeatedly said he wants the court to overturn the law. Barrett is expected to be confirmed by the Senate next week, giving conservatives a 6-3 majority on the court.
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