Providing healthcare to over 40 million Americans, Indian origin professionals are a key stakeholder.
With covid-19 raging across America claiming over 160,000 lives and a staggering five million cases, healthcare has emerged as a key issue in the 2020 presidential elections.
Some four million Indian Americans have a key stake in the debate as over 120,000 doctors, nurses, medical students and other professionals of Indian origin have been at the forefront of the fight against the pandemic.
They make up less than one percent of America’s population, but one out of every seven doctors in the US is of Indian heritage, providing medical care to over 40 million people in rural and urban areas alike.
Like everyone else, Indians in America from immigrants who have made the country their new home to those who are here to study or work on H-1B and other visas too are faced with the daunting cost of healthcare in the US.
The problem has come into stark focus with the pandemic landing many even with insurance into debt and financial ruin with a just a few days stay in hospital.
Previous Democratic President Barack Obama’s signature 2010 legislation Affordable Care Act, nicknamed Obamacare, providing government subsidized health insurance and extending Medicaid to more people too has emerged as a key issue.
Republicans generally favor empowering the private market and limiting government spending with rebates to patients and providing tax incentives for individuals to save.
Let’s see where Republican President Donald Trump, who ran in 2016 on overturning Obamacare requiring everyone even young and old to purchase insurance, and the presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden stand on the issue.
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Repeal of the individual mandate, which “disproportionately hurt the poor,” as part of the landmark Tax Cuts and Jobs Act is listed by Trump’s campaign site as one of his key achievements in the healthcare field.
Trump, it says has worked to improve access to affordable quality healthcare with the Agriculture Department providing more than $1 billion in FY2017 to improve healthcare access for 2.5 million people in rural communities.
The Trump administration has also expanded access to Association Health Plans (AHPs) allowing small business to pool risk across states.
President Trump signed a six-year extension of the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) to fund healthcare for nine million.
Trump, it says has mobilized his entire administration to address drug addiction and opioid abuse by declaring the opioid crisis a nationwide public health emergency.
He successfully pressured China to close dangerous loopholes to prevent legal shipment of Chinese fentanyl, much of which ended up in the US.
Under President Trump, the FDA has approved the largest number of generic drugs in history, it says to increase competition in the marketplace and lower the cost of prescription drugs for all Americans.
Biden, on the other hand, has promised to reverse Trump’s changes to the Affordable Care Act and expand it, making more Americans eligible for tax credits and capping the cost of getting insured to 8.5 percent of income.
His campaign also promised to give Americans a new choice, a public health insurance option like Medicare.
Biden would also increase the value of tax credits to lower premiums and extend coverage to more working Americans and expand coverage to low-income Americans.
The Biden Plan will not only provide coverage for uninsured Americans, it will also make health care more affordable and less complex for all, the campaign promised.
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To put a stop to runaway drug prices and the profiteering of the drug industry, Biden would limit price increases and improve the supply of quality generics.
Biden will also expand access to contraception and protect the constitutional right to an abortion and restore federal funding for Planned Parenthood.
The campaign promised to double the federal investment in community health centers centers, expanding access to high quality health care for the populations that need it most.
The Biden Plan, it said, will make health care a right by doubling the capital gains tax rate on the super wealthy.
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