Campaigns for the 2020 primary election are gaining steam every day, and so is the flow of information coming from local and national candidates. Much of it centers on their plans for changes in our health care system, ranging from sweeping “Medicare for All” proposals to more specific items such as long-term care coverage and mental health and addiction issues.
Although the candidates argue over the structure of our health care system, they agree that health care concerns are at the top of everyone’s list. A Politico poll released in late January 2020 shows Democratic and Republican voters rank taking action to lower health care costs and prescription drug prices as the top two concerns going into the election. The parties diverge wildly on Nos. 3 and 4, with Republicans focused on immigration and the federal budget deficit while Democrats list reducing hate crimes and changing the health care system so people can buy into Medicare if they choose.
Those health care price issues haven’t gone unnoticed in Washington. Both parties in Congress and the Trump administration have introduced a flurry of proposals to reduce health care costs. While everyone seems to agree on the need to address skyrocketing prescription costs, no one can agree on the methods.
Although Americans in the Politico poll seemed more focused on the so-called “pocketbook” issues surrounding health care, other polls have poked into their thoughts on the future of the Affordable Care Act. A court decision declaring the ACA invalid is working its way through the judicial system, and the U.S. Supreme Court will hear arguments on the ACA case in October. A final decision will likely be rendered in 2021.
In a Kaiser Family Foundation poll taken at the end of 2019, 48 percent of those polled said they do not want the Supreme Court to overturn the law and 56 percent were worried that they or someone in their family will lose health insurance coverage if it is. When asked to rate the most important provisions that should remain if the law is declared unconstitutional, 72 percent chose the one that prevents insurance companies from denying coverage for people with preexisting conditions.
While Medicare for All and drug prices have dominated the national debate, Pennsylvania faces its own critical health issues that the Healthy Me PA community will focus on this year:
- Ensuring our community hospitals and special services such as trauma and burn units are adequately funded
- Ensuring our health care workforce is protected from workplace violence
- Alleviating health care delays and waits by expanding the ability of nurse practitioners to work independently
- Promoting new programs that help patients get the care they need after they leave the hospital
Throughout 2020, the Healthy Me PA community will analyze the issues and bring you information that will allow us to work together to improve the health of all Pennsylvanians.