Major Election Year Brings Heightened Health Care Debate

With a presidential election on the horizon in 2020, health care issues are destined to remain at the top of the national conversation. In terms of how Americans access health insurance and health care, the debate within and between political parties remains whether to build on what’s in place or create a whole new government health insurance system.

For some Democratic presidential candidates, “Medicare for All” has become a rallying cry, while others would prefer to strengthen and improve the Affordable Care Act (ACA). In addition to differences over the structure of our health insurance system, candidates are debating how much these systems would cost and who is going to pay for them. 

During the 2016 election, President Donald Trump campaigned on repealing and replacing the ACA. But multiple Congressional attempts to repeal the law in 2017 were unsuccessful. Over the last two years, the Trump Administration has issued rules and policy impacting the ACA. And to complicate matters, a court decision declaring the ACA invalid is working its way through the judicial system and could end up in the U.S. Supreme Court. Amidst all the debate, November polling showed 52 percent of the public supports the ACA over 41 percent that views it unfavorably.

What does that mean for all of us? Mostly confusion. While polling shows a majority of Americans support the idea of Medicare for All, polling finds that Americans know little about how various proposals—including a single-payor, government health insurance system—would reshape the way all Americans get and pay for health care. A survey conducted in July showed a majority of voters (63 percent) believe private coverage should have a role in our health care system. And another poll found only 13 percent supported a system that eliminated private health insurance. 

None of this complicated debate even brings into play proposals to reduce the price of prescription drugs or to address provider shortages and access in urban underserved and rural areas, among a host of other issues.

Through it all, Healthy Me PA will be here to help sort through the noise. We already have a digital archive of helpful explanations of some of the confusing terms and policies you come across in your everyday use of health insurance and health care. Plus, we’ve highlighted great practices to help you stay healthy. Throughout 2020, we’ll continue to analyze the issues and bring you information to make good health care decisions. 

You’ve shown us you’re not only eager for more information but excited about letting your voice be heard on these issues. In 2019 alone, more than 400 Pennsylvanians joined Healthy Me PA to sign a petition urging the Pennsylvania House of Representatives to support and improve behavioral health, which helped convince lawmakers to approve legislation to put a focus on our state’s behavioral health needs. The report is due in 2020, and we’ll keep you updated on its progress. Community members also advocated for workplace safety bills for hospital workers and helped urge legislators to act on a much-needed telemedicine bill.

This is a great community of learning, sharing, and advocating on health care issues. We stand ready to help you wade through the overflow of information coming your way in 2020, and we look forward to engaging with you to drive meaningful advancements in Pennsylvania health care practices and policy.