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Why Trump is focusing on weakening regulations of the Affordable Care Act

Jeffrey Young - Huffington Post Senior Reporter joins Yahoo Finance’s On The Move panel to discuss how President Trump and Democratic candidate Joe Biden's healthcare plans differ.

Video Transcript

- We are also continuing to follow developments over what health care coverage is going to look like in this country following this election. To talk more about that, we're joined by Jeffrey Young. He is a senior reporter at HuffPost, and covers health care.

And Jeff, you've been looking at the various scenarios of what another term of President Trump would look like for health care, or conversely, if Joe Biden wins, what it would look like in terms of health care. Why don't we take the second one first, because it seems like there would be more change if Biden is the president [INAUDIBLE]. So what's sort of the big picture look like under a Biden administration?

JEFFREY YOUNG: I think the easiest way to explain it-- because there's a lot of technical details, and if people are more interested in that stuff, we have a story up today on HuffPost that I wrote with Jonathan Cohn about this very thing. But essentially, you know, if you think-- I think maybe the best way to put is, if you look back at the Democratic primary, right, the debate was Medicare for all or not Medicare for all. And Biden was against it, and he won the primary.

So his plan leaves most of what we already have in place, much like the Affordable Care Act did. You know, half of America will still get their insurance from their employers. Medicare and Medicaid will still be there. The VA, all that.

What he proposes to do is kind of fill a lot of the holes that the ACA left in place in terms of affordability, because that's the main issue for people who buy health insurance, especially those who are buying it from the exchanges, like healthcare.gov, and especially those who earn too much money to qualify for subsidies. They just simply still can't afford it.

So he's got more subsidies for more people. He proposes to create a public option, which is a government-run plan that would be available alongside private insurance for everyone. Anybody who's offered insurance-- employer coverage could opt for that instead, for example.

- And what about the Trump plan? We know they're going to be in court, the Supreme Court, a week after the election to throw out the Affordable Care Act. But have they actually put anything legitimate on the table?

JEFFREY YOUNG: I don't want to be dismissive or glib about this, because you know, we're talking about the president, and also there's an election coming up. But I mean, the answer to your question is kind of no. I mean, the hallmark of Trump's health care agenda, if you will, is and has always been getting rid of the Affordable Care Act.

What's always been missing from that is, what do you do instead? And not just, is there a way, a sort of conservative Republican way, to get to universal coverage, which-- probably not, because I mean, you know, that requires a lot of government spending and regulation and that kind of thing to make that happen. But Trump's focus has been on kind of weakening some of the regulations and benefits that the Affordable Care Act offered, like allowing insurance companies, in certain cases for certain types of products, to screen people with preexisting conditions again.

And if the ACA goes away, like he wants, in the Supreme Court, that's not really a policy outcome. That just creates a big giant mess. Unraveling a 10-year-old law that-- you know, causing 20 million or so people to lose their insurance. Medicare would have to undo all the regulations it's made for hospital payments, and all of these things. It would be a huge, giant mess. And there's no shovel, so to speak, in his tool box.

- Well, TBD, then, I guess. Jeff, we'll have to check back in with you as the election gets closer, or even afterwards, and as we consider this case before the Supreme Court. Thank you so much. Jeffrey Young is HuffPost senior reporter who covers health care. Thank you again.