The President

Incoming Biden Administration Seeks Universal Health Coverage

A moderate stance on health care helped cement Joe Biden's nomination in 2020. How will his administration reach its goal of universal coverage?

Incoming Biden Administration Seeks Universal Health Coverage

Joe Biden soared to the top of the 2020 Democratic primary with a promise to restore and build on Obamacare. 

The incoming president's top health care goal after COVID? To reach universal coverage for all Americans. 

Universal coverage, that is access to insurance coverage that will pay for health care for everybody, does not require so-called single payer or Medicare for all.

Bloche, who served as a health adviser on President Obama's 2008 campaign and presidential transition team, says Biden will first have to undo some of the changes to the Obamacare insurance markets caused by President Trump. 

The Trump administration eased regulations on health insurers and allowed them to sell cheap, lower coverage, short-term insurance plans. 

These short-term plans tend to take the healthiest people out of the insurance, out of the Affordable Care Act insurance marketplace, therefore pushing up prices in the insurance marketplace for other people.

Bloche says Biden could use his executive authority to trigger a rulemaking process to get rid of those plans, although the rulemaking process could take months to complete.

Biden can also extend the national coronavirus emergency declaration, freeing up more federal money to help states shore up their Medicaid programs. 

The biggest step Biden's administration can take toward getting universal health coverage is creating a public insurance option. But that will require legislation from Congress, where Democrats have just a slim majority in the Senate.

It's going to be tough. It's going to be tough.