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Wednesday, February 1, 2023

Presidential Elections Will Decide the Medical Future of Millions of Americans

Pamela Cruz. Peninsula 360 Press.

The 2020 presidential election will be pivotal for Americans, as every vote will count in defining the future of the country, and healthcare is no exception, as millions of people could gain or lose their health coverage.

With just days to go before the U.S. presidential election, the question of whether the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) will continue or disappear is at stake, leaving more than 20 million people uninsured.

An unfavorable Supreme Court ruling on the ACA could mean that millions of middle and lower class people could lose their health coverage in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has been sweeping the country for months.

Thus, several judges of the conservative wing could invalidate in large part or in its entirety this law, which was promoted by former President Barack Obama and is known by many as "Obamacare", after Donald Trump is urging them to do so.

If Democrat Joe Biden were to win the presidency he could even exercise a mandate to expand health coverage to millions more Americans, thereby creating for the first time a government health insurance plan as an alternative to private coverage for middle-class workers.

Even those who live in states that have not expanded Medicaid (the U.S. government's health insurance program for needy people) could be enrolled in the new plan, which would mark a milestone in public health issues by including those who have been denied service for years.

Thus, Democrats consider Trump's new Supreme Court nominee a threat to ACA, as actions that would allow middle- and low-income people to have access to quality health care, especially in these times when comprehensive insurance is so necessary due to COVID-19, could be jettisoned.

For his part, and in the face of a possible Court ruling to eliminate the ACA, Trump claims to have a "much cheaper and better" program than the current one, however, the White House has not shown that the plan exists.

But if the Democrats become president again, they will have to deal with an economic recession and a pandemic, situations that will make them decide how ambitious the health care program will be.

According to estimates by Democrat Joe Biden's campaign, 97 percent of Americans would have health insurance under his plan. Meanwhile, the Urban Institute modeled a program very similar to Biden's proposal and found that all U.S. citizens would be covered, while 6.6 percent of undocumented immigrants would remain uninsured.

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates that six million uninsured Americans are not lawfully present, meaning that Biden's plan would provide coverage to 24 million currently uninsured, if Urban's projections are correct.

So the future of health care in the United States is at stake and, in one of its most extreme scenarios, 20 million people could lose their health insurance; in the other, 25 million could gain coverage.

In November, voters will have in their hands the decision of who they want to write the next chapter of healthcare in the country.

Pamela Cruz
Pamela Cruz
Editor-in-Chief of Peninsula 360 Press. A communicologist by profession, but a journalist and writer by conviction, with more than 10 years of media experience. Specialized in medical and scientific journalism at Harvard and winner of the International Visitors Leadership Program scholarship from the U.S. government.


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