Get all the latest news on coronavirus and more delivered daily to your inbox. Sign up here.
Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden said Thursday again that “no one should have to pay for their coronavirus treatment,” but didn’t offer any specifics on how the treatment would be covered.
“Let me be clear: No one should have to pay for their coronavirus treatment,” the former vice president tweeted Thursday.
Biden has made similar calls before, and in March he released a coronavirus plan which would ensure “that every person, whether insured or uninsured, will not have to pay a dollar out-of-pocket for visits related to COVID-19 testing, treatment, preventative services and any eventual vaccine.”
Biden’s plan would provide financial incentives to states so that everyone who is eligible for Medicaid is enrolled, among other measures.
Biden, however, did not specify whether he would mandate that insurance companies cover the costs associated with virus treatment or give patients aid to offset the costs. The Biden campaign could not be reached for comment.
Last week, Biden again rejected “Medicare-for-All,” the platform proposal of his former opponent Sen. Bernie Sanders, and said it would not have made a difference in dealing with the coronavirus pandemic. Instead, Biden called for enhancing the Affordable Care Act, which Trump is trying to quash in federal courts.
“What we should be doing is having the Affordable Care Act, add the public option for those who want it, meaning Medicare if that’s what they want rather than keep their own health insurance policies,” Biden told ABC News.
On April 3, Biden demanded the Trump administration reopen enrollment in the Affordable Care Act health insurance exchanges to allow the newly unemployed to purchase health insurance.
The Trump administration rejected the idea and instead opted to use money from more recent stimulus bills to pay hospitals to treat uninsured coronavirus patients. It says the plan is more efficient than reopening enrollment in the ObamaCare markets to achieve the same goal.
The money would be drawn from a $100 billion fund to help hospitals respond to the crisis, Trump announced at a daily briefing in early April. Congress left the language of the legislation establishing the fund deliberately vague so that its allocation could shift based on need as the pandemic played out.
“That should alleviate any concern uninsured Americans may have about seeking the coronavirus treatment,” he said.
Alex Azar, the secretary of Health and Human Services, said hospitals would be paid the same prices they receive for Medicare patients.
In an appeal to Sanders’ far left — those devastated by the Democratic Socialist’s dropout and still skeptical of Biden — the presumptive nominee also released new proposals Thursday to lower Medicare eligibility to age 60 and to forgive some student loan debt for low-income and middle-class families.