A lot of people are dissatisfied with the current state of healthcare in the United States. However, it’s not just the cost and quality of care that people worry about. Millions of older adults rely on Medicare, a federal program that is inching toward insolvency, for their healthcare. As the national deficit rises and tempers flare on both sides of the political aisle, it remains to be seen what will happen with programs like Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security.

This brings us to the 2020 presidential election. After a hard-fought battle in the Democratic Primary, the race has been narrowed down to two candidates: former Vice President Joe Biden and incumbent President Donald Trump. While Joe Biden is considered a “moderate” progressive, his vision for the country is radically different than the vision espoused by Donald Trump, whose political ideas tend to lean far-right.

So, what does each candidate want to do about Medicare? How do Trump and Biden view federal programs like Medicare? Is either candidate likely to effect change for Medicare beneficiaries? Read on to find out.

Joe Biden on Medicare

Generally speaking, Joe Biden wants to expand both Medicare and the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) for Americans. Here are a few of his proposals that could affect Medicare going forward:

  • Lower the Medicare eligibility age from 65 to 60, granting Medicare access to an additional 20 million Americans
  • Add a new “public option” for those who want lower costs but don’t qualify for Medicaid
  • A ban on “surprise billing” and providers charging exorbitant fees for out-of-network care
  • Legislation to give the federal government more power to negotiate lower prescription drug prices

While all of these ideas aim to expand Medicare, they are a far cry from the “Medicare For All” that many Democrats have wanted to implement for decades. Moreover, these changes will be difficult to get through Congress, as most Republicans (and even some Democrats) oppose them. Finally, these changes to Medicare will likely be extremely expensive, which could lead to higher taxes and an even higher national deficit.

Donald Trump on Medicare

Alternatively, Donald Trump has shown interest in lowering taxes and moving the financial burden of programs like Medicare from the federal level to individual states. While he has not announced any specific changes to the program, Trump has lobbied Congress to pass a payroll tax cut that would significantly reduce funding to Medicare and Social Security.

However, not all Republicans are on board with the tax cut. Though Republicans are generally the party of low taxes and small government, a payroll tax cut could have a negative impact on the millions of Americans who rely on the federal programs it funds. Additionally, many of Trump’s most loyal supporters benefit from Medicare and Social Security, making it a risky position to take if he wants to win the election in November.

Bottom Line

Whether Biden or Trump wins, some changes will need to go into effect. The national deficit is larger than it’s ever been, while the need for federal programs like Medicare grows in the wake of COVID-19. If Biden wins the election, there’s a chance that Medicare could be expanded. On the other hand, if Trump wins, there’s a chance that Medicare beneficiaries could see their benefits reduced. We will have to wait until November to see how it all plays out.

If you’d like to learn more about the politics of Medicare in 2020 or your Medicare coverage options, feel free to fill out the form or give us a call anytime. Time for 65’s partnered licensed agents are focused on giving you the information you need, with zero pressure to enroll in a plan.