Democratic presidential hopeful Joe Biden unveiled his healthcare plan during a speech at Des Moines University Tuesday. Biden vowed to provide health insurance for every child and greatly expand coverage for adults. The Delaware Senator proposes allowing the uninsured to buy into the federal employee health plan or Medicare – if they are over the age of 55. He also wants the federal government pick up the tab for covering catastrophic illnesses.
"In return, I’m going to require employers that want this catastrophic coverage, to provide coverage for all their employees and invest in preventative care and disease management," Biden said. Biden’s plan stops short of mandating coverage for all Americans. Des Moines University laboratory researcher Jennifer Giles says while it may be appealing to cover everyone, it may not be practical.
"I think it’s great to let everyone buy in according to a sliding scale," Giles said, "but there are some people, for whatever reason – they can’t manage their money or don’t have the money – they’re not going to buy in." Giles says she likes the fact that Biden’s plan continues to allow for private health insurance. She says that will help keep prices competitive and make it more appealing to Republicans.
Biden says the federal government could cover 80 percent of uninsured kids just by expanding eligibility for the state children’s health insurance program known as S-CHIP. "Think of this," Biden asked the audience," in a society where we mandate you have access to an education and the public will pay for it, we don’t mandate that every single child in America be covered?" Biden says his plan would involve raising taxes on the richest one-percent of Americans.
Biden asked: "How can it possibly be a higher value to see to it that the top one-percent of the income earners (receive) an additional $85 billion tax cut – rather than insure every single solitary child in America?" Biden also proposes letting uninsured adults to buy into the federal healthcare system and boosting funding for wellness programs. DMU student Kushal Shah says that stood out to him.
"Being an osteopathic student," Shah said, "one of the major tenants is preventative medicine – and I think that’s something he highlighted as one of the major issues that needs to be dealt with with U.S. healthcare."