The Debate, Healthcare, and COVID-19

If you watched the Trump/Biden debate, you likely thought it was a slugfest, but were you able to figure out the candidates’ positions?

The press might want to ask for clarification, or follow up on these health-related items, with reference to the transcript as well as this listener’s impression.

Health insurance

  • Trump: “I got rid of the individual mandate.” Biden claims Trump has no plan; Trump has presented orders, proposals, or aspirations on specific issues such as pre-existing conditions, patients’ choice, transparency, and high drug costs, but no 2,000-page bill.
  • Biden says he is not for the Sanders Medicare-for-all idea: “I’m not going to listen to him [Bernie Sanders, re: health plan]. The fact of the matter is I beat Bernie Sanders.” And, “The Party is me. I AM the Democratic Party.”
  • Biden proposes the public option: I won’t end private insurance, but “there will be a public option, only for people so poor they qualify for Medicaid…they would be automatically enrolled in the public option.” Follow-up question: What happens to Medicaid?
  • Biden said: “I’m going to eliminate a significant number of the taxes. [He must have said or meant tax cuts.] I’m going to make the corporate tax 28%. It shouldn’t be 21%. You have 91 companies federal, I mean, the fortune 500, who don’t pay a single penny in tax making billions of dollars.” Follow-up question: Does that mean restoring the individual mandate, which was eliminated by means of a tax cut?


  • Trump claimed he saved many lives with travel restrictions over Biden’s objection, that we needed to re-open schools and businesses, and that there would be a vaccine very soon according to scientists at manufacturers.
  • Biden referred to Trump’s saying that the number of COVID deaths “is what it is”: “It is what it is because you are who you are. That’s why it is.” He is more reluctant than Trump to re-open “because he doesn’t have a plan. If I were running it, I’d know what the plan is. You’ve got to provide these businesses the ability to have the money to be able to reopen with the PPE [personal protective equipment], as well as with the sanitation they need.” Follow-up question: If we shouldn’t re-open now, how would you decide when?


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