Former Vice President Joe Biden promised to bring back the individual mandate, a tenet of the Obama-era Affordable Care Act that required Americans to either purchase health insurance or face a financial penalty, if he wins the 2020 presidential election.
“Yes,” he said on Friday during an interview with CNN, “I’d bring back the individual mandate.”
Biden went on to say that he believed everyone should have access to health care, but that private insurance should not be eliminated.
“We’re in a situation now where if you provide an option for someone who wants to buy into Medicare for all, they can buy in,” he said. “They buy in. They can do it. But if they like their employer-based insurance, which a lot of unions broke their necks to get, they shouldn’t have to give it up.”
Biden, who currently leads the polls in the 20-plus candidate Democratic presidential primary field, played an integral role in drawing the ACA, frequently referred to as ObamaCare, which was signed into law in 2010.
However, President Trump and the Republican-controlled Congress gutted ObamaCare when they passed the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, which stripped away the individual mandate.
Since then, the Trump administration has signaled its plan to kill the health law in its entirety -- setting up the industry has a focal point in the upcoming presidential election.
The Supreme Court originally upheld ObamaCare on the basis that the mandate was somehow a tax. Although Congress does not have the ability to require people to buy health insurance, or a car, or a house, that particular provision was considered part of lawmakers’ taxing authority. States then argued that the entire basis for the health care act standing as constitutional is gone, meaning the entire law is unconstitutional.
In a March filing with a federal appeals court, the Justice Department said it agreed with a December ruling by a federal judge in Texas that struck down one of the biggest legislative accomplishments of the Obama administration as unconstitutional.
“The Department of Justice has determined that the district court’s judgment should be affirmed,” the letter said.