This year’s presidential election could greatly affect the access and affordability of healthcare. The current administration is still trying to rescind the Affordable Care Act. Repeal of the ACA will affect us all. Most families have one or more members with pre-existing conditions. We certainly do not want to reduce access to healthcare during a pandemic. Access to healthcare should not be about politics.

Joe Biden’s Healthcare slogan is “Ensure Health Care Is A Right For All, Not A Privileged Few.” Being a health insurance agent, I would like to offer a few details of Biden’s proposals.

Biden plans to expand access to the ACA, increasing benefits by lowering deductibles and copays while simultaneously lowering premiums. Currently, subsidies are based on a medium level Silver plan. Deductibles and copays are still not affordable in many cases. Biden plans to offer subsidies based on a high benefit Gold plan. Adding a public option, along with a few other changes will provide healthcare access to almost all of the 27 million who are currently uninsured in our country.

Fourteen states, including North Carolina, have not expanded Medicaid. One of the most heartbreaking aspects of owning a health insurance agency has been having to deny individuals enrollment in the ACA because the individual does not have enough income. More than 1 million North Carolinians are currently uninsured. Biden plans to enroll these lower income families in a premium-free public option. Since the public option will be a national program, states will not be able to limit access to this program.

Currently, individuals offered employer insurance do not have the opportunity to choose an ACA plan. Biden plans to offer the public option to employees as an alternative to their employer plan.

Many middle-income workers have been left out of subsidies to help pay their healthcare premiums. Premiums for these individuals and families are often not affordable. The income cap, currently 400 percent of the federal poverty level, will be removed under the Biden plan. No family will have to pay more than 8.5 percent of their income for their health insurance.

In addition to expanding access to health insurance through improvements to the ACA and the new public option, Biden plans to lower the eligibility for Medicare to age 60. Additional cost-cutting measures central to the Biden plan include:

1. Stopping “Surprise Billing.” Currently, patients seeking treatment at in-network hospitals may later be billed for services from out-of-network providers who provided treatment while the patient was at the in-network hospital. Healthcare providers would be barred from charging out-of-network rates to patients treated at in-network hospitals. 

2. Repealing the law that limits Medicare’s ability to negotiate with drug manufacturers. Medicare serves 67 million Americans and should have extreme leverage to lower drug costs. Congress stripped this leverage away from Medicare in a bill passed in 1982. As a condition of participation in the Medicare program and public option, all brand, biotech, and abusively priced generic drugs will be prohibited from increasing their prices more than the general inflation rate. A tax penalty will be imposed on drug manufacturers that increase the costs of their brand, biotech, or abusively priced generic over the general inflation rate.

3. Increasing competition to lower U.S. drug prices. Biden proposes allowing our citizens to purchase drugs from other countries as long as they have been deemed safe by the U.S. Health and Human Services Division.

4. Increasing the supply of quality generic drugs. There are currently several loopholes that need to be closed to allow more generics to come to market sooner.

I strongly support universal health coverage in the U.S. through a fair tax system. Biden’s plan falls short of universal coverage but is a solid plan to provide affordable healthcare access to millions of uninsured Americans and to decrease prescription prices. President Trump has not detailed any alternative to the ACA he is trying to repeal. Without the ACA, insurance companies will deny coverage for pre-existing conditions. Access to healthcare for all is a necessity for parents to be able to work and provide for their families.

My vote will be to increase affordable access to healthcare.

Sherry Eason of Emerald Isle is the owner of Get Covered With Care.

(51) comments

Carol Hartsoe

Sherry Eason, I agree. "Access to healthcare should not be about politics."

Thanks for this great information about Biden's plan. The more than one million uninsured North Carolinians and all with pre-existing conditions really need thoughtful voters to come through for them in this election.

Biden has a plan...Trump merely SAYS he has a plan. Big difference!

David Collins

Biden’s plan is to put everyone on the public dole for healthcare . This not insurance and if the author knows anything about insurance , pre existing conditions are not covered . No insurance company in their right mind would cover pre existing conditions . Like insuring a wrecked car and expecting the company to fix it . Ain’t gonna happen . What you will get is like the UK gets . Limited rationed health care by government employees . At best a two tiered system will be allowed where the care givers can also have a pay for service on the side . Comforting indeed .

mpjeep

Good read. Biden has to have the support of congress to make this happen. And we all know how well the Senate and House work together.

And he has to have a way to pay for it.

Wish I had this info prior to voting.

mpjeep

Health Insurance Agents/Brokers like this plan for another reason: under Biden’s plan 25-30 million more folks will be eligible for government subsidized health insurance.

Agents/Brokers receive commissions from insurance companies for bringing customers to them. More customers the more agents make.

Boroexpat

We have been hearing about President Trump's plan that was supposed to be released numerous times by now. I think that is one of his biggest failures is not articulating a health care plan as he is working to replace the Affordable Care Act.

mpjeep

I don't think Trump has a good plan, or one that most voters would like. He doesn't like Obamacare, but he did stop the tax penalty for not having health care.insurance.

I kinda like what I know of Obamacare, but not the tax penalty that Biden will put back in place.

Biden's plan is to make us feel all warm and fuzzy. He knows he can't make most of it happen or even really pay for it. But it will get Votes.

David Collins

The Harris Biden ticket has been blathering about on this topic for quite a while . Nothing new . The way they plan to fund this scheme is also nothing new . Tax the evil rich , you might be surprised how little money it takes to become rich , and close these loopholes the rich and corporations use to avoid paying taxes . The same loopholes that Mr. Biden voted into law during his not so illustrious 40 odd years in the senate . The same loopholes he uses even today . His is all election talk and requires others to go along with his “ plan “ . Even he knows it ain’t gonna happen . So , now you know . We have heard this BS every 4 years or so for how long ?

drewski

We do hear a lot of bs, mostly from trump fans on this forum. Obamacare gives health care for preexisting conditions. Trump signed a rather useless eo about p/conditions. And so what if its a 2 tiered system? Isn't something better then nothing? Speaking of nothing isn't that what trump has accomplished on Healthcare? You remember job 1 as soon as I am elected from 2015? Fake news or more BS from trump?

mpjeep

I would like for someone to ask Biden, or the writer of this article, why they believe that American taxpayers should fund the health care of undocumented aliens?

David Collins

You will grow quite old awaiting an acceptable answer to that question , mp . I know , because I have two relatives working in hospitals . It is a wink nod , nod thing mandated by those on high that fund said hospitals . It is like feeding a stray cat . Do it once and it never goes away , on it’s own volition . Firm action must be taken .

Preexisting conditions is part of what is wrong with the ACA and how it was designed to fail . Think Grubber . Public option is supposed to ensure equality in health care , seeing how we all will be paying for it . The Drs. Will take a pay cut for sure , Big Brother will make sure of that . Once the Drs. reach their quota the door shuts and the private practice door opens . Just like now , the plan will only pay for certain drugs and procedures . Heroic procedures will be excluded or reserved for certain important people only . Just like the special arrangements reserved for members of the senate and above are now . Source , retired high ranking military officer . Nothing is free and this will not be any different . From those that can pay to those in need . Familiar ? The old something is better than nothing is admitting failure . Quite often your something is just not worth having . What ever happened to personal responsibility ?

klacy

The Trump administration’s suit to declare the ACA unconstitutional is his utter betrayal of the people who put him in office. Consider a place like West Virginia, where a lot of people gained health insurance thanks to the ACA’s Medicaid expansion. The state went overwhelmingly for Trump because he promised NOT to cut health care, and also promised to bring back those good jobs in coal. He has created about 2,000 jobs there in the coal industry. If he wins the suit, about 140,000 will lose their health insurance.

mpjeep

Since we are discussing health insurance, I wanted to put in a plug for Medicare, from my own personal experience.

In 2018, I was diagnosed with prostate cancer. In 2019, I was diagnosed with a spinal AVM, in simple terms, a blood vessel/vein was pressing against my spinal cord causing it to swell and eventual nerve damage that affected my ability to walk normally.

I was seen by 6 different doctors and had surgery 4 different times in 2 different hospitals during 2018 and 2019.

My total hospital and doctor bills were almost $500,000 for both conditions.

My out of pocket expense / deductible in 2018 was $185 and in 2019 was $185. Pretty sweet. Of course, my monthly expense for Medicare coverage is approximately $300. I’m more than happy with my Medicare coverage.

David Collins

Think of all those years you paid in and took nothing out .

mpjeep

Good point, David. Wish I'd kept track and put a pencil to it, to see who is winning. But, I think I may still need some care before this life is over.

David Collins

Klacy , Medicaid expansion is not insurance . It is plain and simple welfare . Period .

Everyone in The US has access to healthcare . Access is a misused buzzword that has taken on the meaning of free healthcare . It is how it is paid for that is in contention . Some where down this rabbit hole , some one , or ones , have to step up and pay the freight for all this proposed free stuff . Just who will that be ? An answer to this question would be appreciated . Probably already know your answer but surprises do occur . Here is your chance , go for it .

klacy

Unfortunately, Medicare is only available for those over 65. My health insurance cost $1800/mo. My employer pays 2/3 making my out of pocket $600/mo. Still, total cost of my health insurance is more than my mortgage - just not right. And I still pay SS/Medicare taxes on top of that. Something has to give for all those not as fortunate who can’t afford health insurance.

mpjeep

Klacy, here’s your answer…..

The funding for “Medicaid Expansion” comes from federal taxpayer’s dollars and is reduced each year. It started out as 100% federally sponsored under Obamacare in 2014, for folks with incomes were under a certain percentage of the federal poverty level.

Given federal budget pressures, the Feds probably won’t continue to cover most of the costs after 2020, which is now 90 percent federally funded and 10 percent from states.

Governor Cooper wants to expand Medicaid in NC, like some other states, including NY, have done. New York expanded their Medicaid program, because for every dollar they spend expanding Medicaid for their residents, taxpayers in “other states” are on the hook for those Federal dollars.

The bottom line is that states, and taxpayers in those states, need to understand how much it would cost them to expand Medicaid.

If you think health care is expensive now, wait until you see what it costs when it’s free.

drewski

Well as long as we are demanding answers.. How does car insurance work? A large group of people pay in and the rates are determined by losses(claims) expenses and the free market. "everyone in the US has access to health care" gee how does that work? people who have no ins and no money go to the ER, they are given enough treatment to get them back out the door, untill the next time. Who pays for that? yes everyone else through higher costs to cover the losses incurred. Now, what if everyone was covered by medicaid,,, medicaid taxes would rise to cover it, presumably with some preventative care, some portion of chronic care could be eliminated, an aspirin at the hosp would not be a line item billing for 37 dollars, and the poor would not be sitting in the emergency room for relatively minor conditions. Somehow the vast majority of industrialized nations are able to provide universal health care, but the USA cant get that together?? we can bail out farmers and big businesses to the tune of trillions of dollars, but aunty FAah can't get a pap smear, that might well save her life.. sheesh! Time to start shrieking about socialism in 3..2...1...

mpjeep

I agree, klacy, folks do need some help with health insurance. I understand where you’re coming from. Before I was eligible for Medicare, I paid $1,200 per month for health insurance, after I took early retirement. And my plan had a high deductible. Biden’s plan might look good on paper, but he knows he can’t pay for it taxing the wealthy Only. I wish us all the best on this issue. On the plus side, you have a great mortgage.

And for those that want the so-called “Free”, Universal Socialized Healthcare as in Canada vs US Single Payer Healthcare:

Canada’s funded healthcare is financed with general revenue raised through federal, provincial and territorial taxes, such as personal and corporate taxes, sales taxes, payroll levies and other revenue. It’s just not called a healthcare tax.

On average, in 2017, Canadian’s spent approx. $6,600 per year, per person in taxes for healthcare coverage.

In Canada certain medical expenses are not covered, like dental care, vision care, prescription medication, podiatry and chiropractics. These are out-of-pocket expenses.

Taxes can also be a key difference between the two countries. Canada has a higher average practical tax rate of 28 percent versus the United States at 18 percent.

In general, Canadians pay higher taxes for the country's social safety net, proving there is no free lunch, folks!

drewski

No one said health care would be free jeep, except you, citing your 6k per yr thats 500 a month.

In that report, a leading indicator points to the fact that “Most Canadians (85.2 percent) aged 15 years and older reported being 'very satisfied' or 'somewhat satisfied' with the way overall health care services were provided, unchanged from 2005.” So no free lunch, as no one suggested, but 500/month and 85% quite happy with their health care. Darn those Canadians!!

New poll shows Canadians overwhelmingly support public health ...www.healthcare-now.org

mpjeep

Wrong again, ski. See my comments below about what Biden said in NC the other day about free healthcare.

Always A Teacher

trump has a plan??????????? Does he ever have a plan for anything?????????? He doesn't even know how to spell the word. Blonde Kayleigh has a notebook filled with everything BUT a healthcare plan!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I hope America has a plan for trump!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

mpjeep

To Protect and To Serve…..a Motto that Congress should take on. Maybe, just maybe, they wouldn’t forget about us, the folks that pay their salaries. Naw!

mpjeep

Back in the days when I worked, I remember these horrible words: “I’m here from corporate and I’m here to help”. Ugh!

Nowadays I hear these horrible words “I’m here from the Government and I’m not here to help”. Ugh, again.

David Collins

The poor and illegals currently use our ERs as their primary care right now , every day . Someone has to cover that huge cost and that is you .

Car insurance does not fix already damaged cars . Same goes for people . They would go broke if they did that . Medicaid expansion will go broke If it fixes all of everyone’s problems . Other countries’ health care plans do not cover everything for the same reasons . That is why the well healed come here for treatment . Please show me one that actually does . Remember , everything means just that , everything . It is a dream not a reality that is being spun to the lame , lazy and downright stupid enough to believe bloviating politicians that crawl from under their respective rocks every couple of years or so .

(Edited by staff.)

drewski

So people with preexisting conditions.. they what? Crawl into the er when things get bad for us to pay for it anyway?

You should at least waIt until Xmas eve to say " Are there no workhouses for the poor?"

drewski

While your post repeats what I said about ER's being used as primary health care, filling your post with prejorative terms really has no effect other then to show your disapproval. the fact that the well healed come here for treatment is a testament to America, not a bad thing but a good thing. Since they are paying for it. Lets use a simple dentistry example a cavity can be filled for 100 bucks, untreated it becomes a root canal for $2000 an abcess and a bone infection for 4700. Now wouldent it be smart for the public trough to pay 100 bucks for the cavity, rather then paying 4700 which is going to happen when it becomes an emergency. The public health service was gutted in the 80's by the gipper, as a young merchant seamen I used to get inoculations and physicals there. prevenative care is much cheaper then waiting, I don't have a problem with paying taxes so others can have food and basic care. in fact I don't see why staple foods via the usda are not readily available at lil or no cost, through the existing grocery supply chain rather then the current ebt and wic system. Good nutrition is the foundation of good health.

mpjeep

Just had a tooth filled 6 weeks ago, cost $399 and that includes a 5 percent senior citizen discount.

mpjeep

TrumpCare: The WHMU provides free healthcare to the President, Vice President, and their immediate families, who are eligible for medical care at American military hospitals anywhere in the world.

David Collins

Wellllll , could be that you live with them or die from them . That was in 1984 wasn’t it ? Just admit it , Medicaid expansion and the ACA are welfare by a different name . No need to be embarrassed , just get in line and wait , and wait , and wait .

drewski

I am not at all embarrassed, I stand by my statements, and beliefs. I think everyone should have access to Healthcare, and pay based on income.

mpjeep

What about illegal immigrants and healthcare, ski?

You want to check my shape, wanna challenge me, let’s do push-ups together. Let’s run. Let’s do whatever you want to do. (biden)

drewski

I dunno jeep complex questions don't have simple answers. On one hand they shouldn't be here, on the other what would Jesus say? To me the problem with illegals is employment, if the employers were sent to prison on a reg basis, that problem might solve itself. Grey market aside.

David Collins

Your analogy with the tooth filling is quite accurate . A stitch in time saves nine . The problem is getting folks to seek help when the problem is small and the cost is as well . At this point most anyone can pay out of pocket and avoid much bigger costs down the line . They don’t . Other priorities like getting that new tattoo , new sneakers or those jumbo bars of dog food for the three dogs you just had to have . Real things that make life worth living for so many folks on the dole these days . Used to see them all the time in the stores with their rotten missing teeth but boy oh boy their hound dogs were well fed and their pickups had a stainless exhaust with that lift kit . Those kind of priorities . Healthy eating is beer and Cheetos and it showed . When things go south it is off to the ER for them , Medicaid card in hand .

drewski

Yes, some people do make bad choices, watching a cart of candy and junk food being paid with an ebt card, while the owner yaps on a 600 dollar phone makes me furious actually. I tell myself for every jerk like that there are 10 families having the same rice a roni and discount hamburger that I will be eating tonight. I am not going to demonize all ebt users by the action of some, and I feel the same way about health care.

Swasnboro_Native

Remember, if you're a Christian then it is your duty to help others regardless of what the burden may be. Stop complaining about how what you have to do for others and just do it. The world is a better place when we lift each other up.

mpjeep

True, swans, but according to a survey on this site, almost 43 percent of the folks don't go to church, virtually or in-person. Much higher number than I would have thought.

Swasnboro_Native

I think higher numbers of Agnostics and Atheists is a great thing.

If you claim to be a Christian and then complain about having to help someone, you may consider thinking about not claiming to be a Christian. Nothing profound here about my argument.

David Collins

So , that is what Christians do . ok , sounds nice . The only problem with that is there are other taxpayer citizens that do not quite see things your way . Perhaps if enough like minded Christians stepped up and funded these undeserving scoundrels that are draining our resources it would relieve the pressure so that those that are entitled could be served . Ever think of that ? Your rights and beliefs only extend to the end of your nose .

No , we really need to remove all these border jumpers and their spawn to whence they came from and let them return the way they arrived . Mostly on foot . No more free airplane rides . The same goes for Visa overstayers as well .

May not be the Christian way but it would be effective and send a message as well . Some other countries just marginalize and problem gone . The options are numerous indeed .

Swasnboro_Native

I disagree entirely. I think you should really consider being more compassionate. Remember, we are only as good or as strong as our worst or weakest. When you lift other up from low, then we all get better.

As for supporting "underserving scoundrels": we do that every day by voting the people in office that control us. When we can change that, then we can begin with real progress. As long as Mitch, Nancy and whoever is President is running the country and being supported by people who have a larger say than us because they have a larger credit line then we are all doomed to repeat this foolishness.

mpjeep

While reading my copy of the News and Observer, I came across a well written “letter to the editor” from Joe Biden.

Not much new to report, lots of Trump bashing, but he did say when elected he would give 357,000 North Carolinians free health insurance. Good deal, I guess.

What I am wondering, since most of us know Biden can barely read and following that logic, probably can barely write. Wonder who wrote that letter for him?

mpjeep

Good reminder, swans!

Sometimes it falls on society to make things happen for all citizens. As a society, we have the responsibility to help ensure our neighbors have many of the same advantages we have. We can elect lawmakers, who will protect us through legislation, but many times we just have to help each other.

For people of faith, especially those who read the New Testament, this moral imperative is grounded in the Commandment: Love God, Love Your Neighbor.

mpjeep

Biden says he will put 500,000 charging stations along the highways for electric cars, when he follows suit with California, and eliminates the sale of gasoline powered automobiles.

Someone asked him how he was going to power these charging stations and he said. well. with wind or solar of course.

David Collins

Love thy neighbor , apparently Mr. Cunningham took that quite literally .

You can love thy neighbor without taking them to raise . God helps those that helps themselves . No perfect answer but socialized medicine has been tried before and failed before . Always those that are just a little bit more equal than the rest . Buttttt , if it comes to pass , so be it . After all , what have ya got to lose ?

Swasnboro_Native

You can't chastise anyone for having an extra-marital affair if you're supporting President Trump. The argument is moot.

David Collins

Oh , one more thing .

You can rest assured that Mr. Biden and his crowd have absolutly nothing to lose due to the dignity of his office . He and his have a special all inclusive no holds barred plan for life . Special people only and he be one of them . The rest get a bone .

drewski

Its laughable you can mention dignity of his office, considering the current POTUS.

meanwhile...A new report in the North Carolina Medical Journal estimates 257,000 people across the state lost their health insurance during the first six months of the coronavirus pandemic because of job cuts.

North Carolina had one of the highest rates of uninsured residents in the country last year with 11.4% of the population lacking health insurance, The News & Observer reported. The national average is 9.2%.

mpjeep

Thanks to LeRoy Cooper.

mpjeep

Democratic Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Rashida Tlaib introduced a bill to create a federally chartered and supported public banking system, called the Public Banking Act

The bill would develop a system through which the Federal Reserve System and Treasury Department would recognize and offer grants and open credit facilities for nonprofit banks. These banks would be barred from charging fees on checking or savings accounts, requiring minimum balances, and levying interest rates more than 15 percent.

The creation of public banks will also facilitate the use of public resources (taxpayers) to construct a myriad of public goods including affordable housing and local renewable energy projects,

This is the latest push from progressive Democrats to create federally funded and supported alternatives to the financial sector.

A task force set up by Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden along with Sen. Bernie Sanders called for the creation of a government-run banking system set up through the Federal Reserve and U.S. Postal Service.

Can’t afford a checking account, but I bet they have great $1,000 cell phones. C’mon man!

drewski

As much as you wish to blame Cooper, the plain fact is health care is dependant on employment in this country. Lose your job.. too bad, get another job now you have preexisting conditions. Shameful in such a wealthy country.

David Collins

Life is a pre-existing condition . Get over it !

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