What about Julian Castro's healthcare plan?

Over the past few months, I've written overviews of the preferred Big Healthcare Reform proposals from several of the Democratic Presidential candidates:

  • Bernie Sanders: I wrote about his official M4All bill back in September 2017 when he introduced it with most of the other Senators running for President also cosponsoring it. He's since revised it further, mostly adding long-term services & supports (LTSS) after Medicare for America included it in their first version.
  • Kamala Harris: Harris was pushing Bernie's M4All bill until late July, at which point she split off from his vision with her own variant (which she also calls by the same name). The major difference, besides a longer transition period (10 years instead of 4) is that her plan would still allow for privately administered Medicare Advantage plans to stick around, but only as long as it's strictly regulated by the government.

OK, those are the top five candidates, plus one who dropped out. While the field has been narrowed down quite a bit from the absurd 24 who were running at one point, however, there's still at least three other candidates still sticking it out: Sen. Cory Booker, former HUD Secretary Julian Castro, and Sen. Amy Klobuchar.

I really should have gotten to all three of them earlier, for which I apologize....especially since at least one of them appears to be pushing a plan very similar to the one I prefer as a long-term goal, Medicare for America. I don't really have time to do a fully-detailed analysis of these right now, but I'm at least highlighting each by cross-posting their proposals. I'll go back and add my own thoughts to these posts properly in the near future if I'm able to do so.

Here's former HUD Secretary Julian Castro's healthcare plan. Unlike most of the other candidates, his healthcare plan page doesn't go into tons of detail, but many of the provisions it does describe sound an awful lot like "Medicare for America", which I love as a long-term universal coverage plan, although I still strongly believe we need a robust ACA 2.0 upgrade (like Warren's CHIPA bill) in the short term:

Medicare for All

  • Strengthen Medicare for those who have it, and expand it to achieve universal healthcare coverage by including all Americans within the program.
  • Allow individuals to obtain supplementary private insurance or opt-out of Medicare if they have a high-standard private insurance plan through an employer or organization that is regulated under the Affordable Care Act

(This second bullet is the core of Med4America...you can keep a private plan if you prefer but only if it's through your employer and only if it's high quality...no junk plans allowed)

  • Ensure all Americans will have health care coverage at all times at a lower cost to themselves
  • Enroll newborns and anyone who loses employer-sponsored insurance immediately into Medicare so that all Americans are insured at all times
  • Combine other publicly-run health programs, such as Medicaid, into one Medicare program. The Indian Health Service and the Veterans Affairs system would continue to offer their unique services to support Tribal communities and veterans, and would be supplemented by Medicare.
  • End the distinction between physical and mental health and require all insurance plans and publicly-run programs to cover mental healthcare

(The second and third bullets here also describe tenets of Med4America...auto-enrolling newborns and those not otherwise covered; merging Medicaid/CHIP into the new program while leaving the IHS and VA alone.)

Lower prescription drug costs

  • Empower Medicare to negotiate drug prices using international prices as a reference point
  • Reform intellectual property laws to promote generic drugs
  • Allow the import of drugs from countries that meet strong consumer protection and safety standards

Invest in rural and underserved communities to expand health care access

  • Implement universal coverage through Medicare and investing in rural hospitals
  • Increase reimbursement rates for areas that have higher health care costs, including in rural and underserved communities
  • Expand reliable, high-speed internet access in rural communities to enable telemedicine and reform health care policies to improve reimbursement for telemedicine services
  • Fund residency programs, prioritizing hospitals that serve rural and underserved communities, and high-demand specializations including primary care
  • Reform our immigration system to allow foreign-born physicians to more easily practice in the United States, prioritizing underserved communities
  • Establish incentives through Medicare to promote the use of nurse practitioners and physician’s assistants to have full practice authority, as in 22 states and the District of Columbia, to increase the number of individuals covered by healthcare services
  • Provide grants through Medicare to teaching hospitals and medical schools to establish urban-rural rotation programs to expand healthcare capacity in rural communities, provide practical learning experience in these communities, and establish relationships with local health providers for future employment

Repeal the Hyde Amendment to ensure publicly-run healthcare programs can provide comprehensive reproductive health care services, including abortion and eliminate unnecessary restrictions on access to abortion care.

Implement strong nondiscrimination protections for the provision of health services to ensure all people have access to high-quality affordable healthcare