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Presidential Election 2020: Health Care and Drug Prices

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White House

The 2020 presidential election on Nov. 3 is quickly approaching, and Drugwatch researched President Donald J. Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden’s stances on three issues important to voters. 

Key issues include: health care, coverage for pre-existing conditions and prescription drug prices

Drugwatch does not take a public stance on candidates. We gathered this nonpartisan information directly from official White House statements and Biden’s official campaign website. Neither campaign responded to Drugwatch’s request for a statement in time for article publication. 

Health Care

About 68 percent of all voters ranked health care as “very important” to their vote in the 2020 election, according to a 2020 poll by the Pew Research Center. 

The candidates have different plans for providing health care coverage but agree on points such as health care tax credits, affordability and greater flexibility and choice. 

President Donald J. Trump

In a December 2019 statement, the president said he would continue to work to provide access to high-quality health care at an affordable price. President Trump intends to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act and does not support Medicare for All. 

“The Trump Administration is working on realistic solutions to provide Americans with the options and control they want, the affordability they need, the ease they expect, and the quality they deserve, rather than forcing a government takeover of the healthcare system,” former White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said in an April 2019 statement

President Trump supports the American Health Care Act (AHCA) of 2017, a bill that proposes protection for pre-existing conditions, reduced costs of health care, greater choice and flexibility, extra funding for states that “waive certain Obamacare rules” and lower taxes for Americans, according to a White House statement

Former Vice President Joe Biden

Former Vice President Joe Biden wants to protect and build on the Affordable Care Act. 

While he does not support Medicare for All, he promises “a public health insurance option like Medicare,” according to Biden’s campaign site.  

“Instead of starting from scratch and getting rid of private insurance, he has a plan to build on the Affordable Care Act by giving Americans more choice, reducing health care costs, and making our health care system less complex to navigate,” the site says about the Biden Plan.  

The Biden Plan includes plans to protect coverage for pre-existing conditions, increase tax credits for working Americans, expand coverage, stop “surprise billing” for providers not in-network and defend health care protections for all, regardless of gender, gender identity or sexual orientation. 

Pre-Existing Conditions

According to a November 2018 poll conducted by the American Cancer Society, about 90 percent of voters said they would be “concerned” if coverage for pre-existing conditions was no longer required.  This issue remains a top concern with voters across party affiliations. 

Both candidates have pledged to protect health plan coverage for pre-existing conditions.

Related Article

Prescription Drug Prices

Affordability of prescription drugs is one of the most important issues for voters. A poll commissioned by The Campaign for Sustainable Rx Pricing (CSRxP) found that 90 percent of voters said prescription drug prices are a “very important” or “somewhat important” issue facing Americans. 

Both candidates plan to reduce the cost of prescription drugs. They agree that Americans should have more access to generics and be able to buy less expensive prescription drugs from other countries such as Canada. 

President Donald J. Trump

“Since the day I took office, I have made reducing drug prices one of my highest priorities,” President Trump said in a July 24, 2020, White House statement.

According to the statement, the president signed four executive orders directed at lowering prescription drug costs. 

Trump’s four executive orders:

  • Pass along discounts obtained by health centers from drug companies on epinephrine and insulin to people with low incomes.
  • Allow for safe importation of certain drugs by states.
  • Prohibit deals between pharmacy benefit managers and drug manufacturers.
  • Ensure the U.S. pays the lowest price for Medicare Part B drugs comparable to other economically similar countries.

Former Vice President Joe Biden

“The Biden Plan will put a stop to runaway drug prices and the profiteering of the drug industry,” according to Biden’s campaign site. 

The Biden Plan promises to reduce drug prices by:

  • Repealing laws that prevent Medicare from negotiating lower drug prices with drug companies.
  • Setting reasonable prices for new drugs that don’t face competition.
  • Prohibiting companies with “abusively priced generic drugs” from raising their prices and imposing tax penalties on these companies. 
  • Allowing people to buy safe prescription drugs from other countries.
  • Improving generic drug supplies.
  • Eliminating tax breaks for drug company ads.
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Michelle Llamas, Senior Content Writer
Written By Michelle Llamas Senior Writer

Michelle Llamas has been writing articles and producing podcasts about drugs, medical devices and the FDA for nearly a decade. She focuses on various medical conditions, health policy, COVID-19, LGBTQ health, mental health and women’s health issues. Michelle collaborates with experts, including board-certified doctors, patients and advocates, to provide trusted health information to the public. Some of her qualifications include:

  • Member of American Medical Writers Association (AMWA) and former Engage Committee and Membership Committee member
  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Health Literacy certificates
  • Original works published or cited in The Lancet, British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology and the Journal for Palliative Medicine
Edited By

12 Cited Research Articles

Drugwatch.com writers follow rigorous sourcing guidelines and cite only trustworthy sources of information, including peer-reviewed journals, court records, academic organizations, highly regarded nonprofit organizations, government reports and interviews with qualified experts. Review our editorial policy to learn more about our process for producing accurate, current and balanced content.

  1. American Cancer Society. (2018, November 27). Poll Shows Voters Expect Health Coverage for Pre-Existing Conditions Without Caveats or Extra Costs. Retrieved from https://www.fightcancer.org/releases/poll-shows-voters-expect-health-coverage-pre-existing-conditions-without-caveats-or-extra
  2. Biden Harris. (2020). Health Care. Retrieved from https://joebiden.com/healthcare/
  3. Congress. (n.d.). H.R.1628 - American Health Care Act of 2017. Retrieved from https://www.congress.gov/bill/115th-congress/house-bill/1628
  4. Pew Research Center. (2020, August 13). Important issues in the 2020 election. Retrieved from https://www.pewresearch.org/politics/2020/08/13/important-issues-in-the-2020-election/
  5. Promises Kept. (2020). Healthcare: President Donald J. Trump Achievements. Retrieved from https://www.promiseskept.com/achievement/overview/healthcare/
  6. The Campaign for Sustainable Rx Pricing. (2020). CSRXP Poll: American Voters Overwhelmingly Agree Big Pharma Should Suspend Price Hikes During Pandemic. Retrieved from https://www.politico.com/f/?id=00000173-01bf-dbfa-a57f-97bf24750000
  7. Trump Pence. (2020). About. Retrieved from https://www.donaldjtrump.com/about
  8. White House. (2017, June 13). Remarks by the Vice President on Healthcare. Retrieved from https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefings-statements/remarks-vice-president-healthcare/
  9. White House. (2017, May 4). House Advances American Health Care Act. Retrieved from https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefings-statements/house-advances-american-health-care-act/
  10. White House. (2019, April 10). Statement from the Press Secretary on “Medicare for All.” Retrieved from https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefings-statements/statement-press-secretary-medicare/
  11. White House. (2019, December 18). Statement by the President. Retrieved from https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefings-statements/statement-by-the-president-31/
  12. White House. (2020, July 24). President Donald J. Trump Is Taking Action to Lower Drug Costs and Ensure That Americans Have Access to Life-saving Medications. Retrieved from https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefings-statements/president-donald-j-trump-taking-action-lower-drug-costs-ensure-americans-access-life-saving-medications/
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