B1 Intermediate UK 11 Folder Collection
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KIRAN STACEY: Could health care be
about to play a decisive role in yet another American election?
Welcome to Week 6 of Washington, DC's coronavirus lockdown,
where the contours of November's presidential election
are beginning to take shape.
One issue rising up the agenda is health care,
and specifically, what should happen
to the tens of millions of people
who are likely to lose their jobs as a result
of this crisis, and with it, their employer-linked health
insurance plans.
Well, one option on the table is simply
to extend the government-backed Medicare and Medicaid schemes
to anyone who wants them for the duration
of the coronavirus crisis, at least.
This would be what the Left would
call "Medicare for All," at least
for the foreseeable future.
This, however, would be anathema to many
on the Right, who are keen to make sure the private insurance
market does not get undermined.
Therefore, another option being discussed
is for the government to step in to subsidise
a scheme known as COBRA.
This allows people who have just lost their jobs,
and with it their employer-linked insurance
plans, to continue accessing private health insurance plans,
but at a cost.
The problem with this scheme has been
that it is so costly, in fact, that people have simply
decided to go without insurance rather than accessing it.
The government could step in to cover those costs,
but of course, doing so would also be tremendously expensive,
with researchers estimating that it
could cost the government into the hundreds of billions
of dollars.
There is a third way available.
The US government could decide instead
to allow anybody to enrol in a plan
under the Obama-era Affordable Care Act.
Now this would mean that people could
get a relatively low-cost plan, but still
from a private supplier.
It would seem to be a compromise of sorts,
but the problem is the Republicans have
spent much of the last few years arguing
that Obamacare, as it is commonly known,
should be rolled back, not extended.
Changing their minds on that could lose them
a lot of their key support.
Whichever way this works out, it could be
an advantage for the Democrats.
Either there is a wide expansion of government-backed health
care, which is something many on the Left
have argued for for years.
Or there isn't, and the Democrats
can go into the next election promising
to look after tens of millions of people who otherwise
have been forgotten about.
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Why healthcare during coronavirus could cost Trump the election DC lockdown diary

11 Folder Collection
洪子雯 published on May 15, 2020
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