The recent Democratic Presidential Debates touched on various topics, including the future American prison system, immigration, gun control, and most importantly, healthcare. The Democrats seemed to have made this last point a priority in this presidential election.
We have had several key candidates, including Bernie Sanders, Julian Castro, Kamala Harris, and Andrew Yang, who have capitalized on their healthcare plans for America. The topic has been controversial for a multitude of different reasons, with insurance companies being against it and poorer families have difficulty affording it. Recent studies have shown that 1 in 5 Americans live without health care, and over 50 percent of people delay getting medical attention.
The Affordable Health Care Act passed in 2010, also known as Obamacare, had a similar goal of making health insurance more available and accessible for Americans. Citizens are given subsidies with incomes within a certain range. Obamacare has been widely criticized by Republicans and Democrats alike, and it is soon hoped to be replaced with a new health care plan. Many claimed Obamacare left higher premiums (cost of healthcare) and higher deductibles which have negatively affected families. Polls have shown that from 50 to 60 percent of Americans are not in favor of the bill.
The majority of Democratic candidates seem to agree on the concept of universally free or affordable healthcare for all citizens, however, the amount of common ground starts to diverge from here. Unlike other countries in the world, where there are still some costs when going to the doctors, pharmacy or hospital, Medicare-for-all will completely remove this.
Some Democrats seem to suggest the concept of healthcare fully-funded by the government. Bernie Sanders has made Medicare-for-all as his biggest-policy for this election as well as his previous run. His idea consists of the government providing insurance to all Americans, something Obama tried to accomplish during his presidency with only partial success. In order to fund this policy, Sanders suggested taxing the affluent and wealthy, but this seems to be quite unlikely. The plan even covers seniors and those with disabilities.
Candidates including Elizabeth Warren and Cory Booker, support Medicare-for-all, but would first consider improving Obamacare to better suit everyday Americans. The largest proportions of candidates, including Andrew Yang, propose a public option where the government would form their own insurance competing with other private health insurance companies, allowing for citizens to make the shift as easily as possible.
Candidates such as Kamala Harris want to preserve middle ground, where private insurance companies are still in the healthcare system. This policy has been criticized by Bernie Sanders, who supports a completely government-funded health care system, and Joe Biden, who supports the Affordable Care Act with an add-on that makes it more affordable for everyone.
Ultimately, these policies have similar concepts with different roads of reaching them, and it is up to us citizens to be informed on these politics so that we can make the right choices for the people.
Dean Kim, Grade 10
Cleveland High School