How the Obama and Romney Health Plans Stack Up

The following is a summary of a report by the Commonwealth Fund

With the U.S. presidential election just weeks away, health care is in the spotlight. President Obama and Governor Romney have proposed distinctly different approaches to health care problems. If reelected, the president has pledged to continue implementing the Affordable Care Act with major provisions are to be rolled out in the next 15 months. President Obama supports the goal of near-universal health insurance coverage by maintaining existing private insurance markets while instituting tighter and more standardized regulations. In addition, federal tax credits would make individually purchased health plans more affordable. The Medicaid program would cover more families with low or moderate incomes.

To contain growth in health care costs and improve the quality of care, Obama supports the health law’s reforms that target how insurance markets operate, how providers are paid, and how care is delivered.

Governor Romney says that more limited regulation would ensure that consumers have a broad choice of health plans. To encourage more people to buy health plans in the individual market, he would make the tax treatment of individually purchased coverage similar to what is accorded to employer-based plans.

Romney would reduce federal funding to Medicaid by establishing state block grants and loosening federal requirements. He would scale back the federal/state public insurance program substantially for people with low incomes.

Romney wants to drive down health care costs by providing fixed budgets and looser standards to state Medicaid programs, on the theory that doing so will allow states to innovate and save money.

Romney would introduce competition between private plans and traditional Medicare by giving premium support to beneficiaries to buy the plan they choose. If such competition fails to bring down costs, he would also place limits on annual spending, starting in 2023. To get the full report, visitwww.commonwealthfund.com.

Last Updated 9/8/2017

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