Categorized | Health, Pushback

Biden Health Plan A Shot In The Arm For Older Americans

Biden

America’s health care system will look different as the administration of Pres. Joe Biden settles into the Oval Office.

By Al Norman

America’s health care system will look different as the administration of Pres. Joe Biden settles into the Oval Office.

One of Biden’s key promises was to strengthen the Affordable Care Act, not to repeal it, as his predecessor attempted. That means fighting in the Supreme Court to uphold the constitutionality of Obamacare, and its mandate that citizens have health insurance.

Although he did not embrace Medicare for All, Biden wants to provide all Americans with a “public option” managed by the government, and ensure that no one will pay premiums greater than 8.5 percent of income.

Biden has spoken of expanding “open enrollment” for health insurance back to three months instead of six weeks under the Trump White House, giving consumers more time to pick a plan.

Biden also pledged to increase funding for the popular State Health Insurance Program (SHIP) of free health coverage counseling and enrollment supports.

Biden also pledged to increase funding for the popular State Health Insurance Program (SHIP) of free health coverage counseling and enrollment supports.

The president seeks to lower drug prices by allowing Medicare to use its buying clout to negotiate with drug companies over pricing, and he supports allowing Americans to import drugs from other countries.

Pres. Trump actually announced earlier this fall an initiative to tie Medicare drug prices to rates found in other countries, and to allow American consumers to buy drugs from Canada and other nations — but drug companies sued the Trump Administration to kill these initiatives, and Canada is not supportive of allowing U.S. consumers to import drugs from Canada.

For the very low-income, Biden has committed to ending work requirements for Medicaid, as proposed in New Hampshire and other states, and to block conversion of Medicaid benefits into a capped block grant.

patient-centered, Social Security, ageist, nursing, COVID, TrumpFor women’s health, Biden wants to defend the Roe v Wade decision which legalized abortions nationwide, repeal federal restrictions placed on abortions by the Trump administration, and permit family planning programs supported with federal funds to refer patients for abortions.

Biden wants to stop states from cutting off Medicaid funding to groups like Planned Parenthood who provide abortion-related services, and oppose state efforts to make it harder to get abortions, such as waiting periods, requiring doctors to have local hospital privileges, and mandating parental notification.

Perhaps highest on the elderly health agenda, Biden has promised to “get at least 100 million COVID vaccine shots into the arms of the American people in his first 100 days” in office. Biden’s team indicated they would use the Defense Production Act to produce enough vaccine materials and supplies in order to ensure there would be vaccine for both doses. Almost immediately, debate began about whether Biden meant 50 million people would get the two dose shots of the vaccine.

In early January, a Biden spokesman told CNN, “The President-elect believes we must accelerate distribution of the vaccine while continuing to ensure the Americans who need it most get it as soon as possible. He supports releasing available doses immediately, and believes the government should stop holding back vaccine supply so we can get more shots in Americans’ arms now.”

Biden’s advisors believe that vaccine producers can manufacture enough second doses at the same time the government is administering first doses under the president’s timetable.

Biden’s advisors believe that vaccine producers can manufacture enough second doses at the same time the government is administering first doses under the president’s timetable. Because the second shot of the Pfizer vaccine should be given 21 days after the first dose, and 28 days after the first dose of the Moderna vaccine, critics of Biden’s plan worry that a shortage of second doses could jeopardize the proper intervals.

One million doses a day under the Biden plan would be a significant increase over the vaccine rollout during the Trump Administration. Under Trump, 12 million shots were given between Dec.14 and Jan. 20 — around 316,000 shots per day, and another 31 million doses were shipped out, according to the Centers for Disease Control. With the Biden plan, backed by $1.6 billion in new funding, the vaccine shots per day would roughly triple.

Whether or not this pace is doable, its clear that Biden’s overall health care plan should turn out to be a shot in the arm for senior citizens.

Al Norman worked as an executive and lobbyist in the Massachusetts elderly home care field for 38 years. He can be reached at: alnormaneldercare@gmail.com

 

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