- Around half of Americans get their insurance through employers.
- Biden, Sanders, and Trump have very different visions for improving the nation's healthcare system and expanding insurance.
- Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories .
Millions of Americans are losing their jobs as a result of the economic shutdown from the coronavirus pandemic. That raises the prospect many will be losing their health insurance too, making it harder for people to gain access to medical care during an extraordinary public health emergency.
Around half of Americans get their health insurance through their employer, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation . This establishes a strong connection between work and insurance coverage in the US.
Initial data from the Labor Department showed 3.3 million Americans filed for unemployment claims in the week ending March 21, a record-breaking spike . Some experts estimate this week's claims could be even higher.
Jobless people can sign up to get healthcare from Obamacare, either buying a federally subsidized insurance plan on the state exchanges or enrolling in Medicaid. But the latter route is harder for people living in 14 states that chose not to expand the program.
Extending an employer plan through COBRA is also an option. But it would require a person to pay 102% of the plan's cost, rendering this option unaffordable for many as employer-based plans tend to be expensive.
Here's how Sen. Bernie Sanders, former Vice President Joe Biden, and President Trump would attempt to remake the healthcare system.
Sanders is seeking to create a single-payer, universal healthcare system popularly known as Medicare for All.
Under Medicare for All, everyone would receive comprehensive health insurance from the government that's paid for by higher taxes. Premiums, deductibles, and out-of-pocket costs would be a thing of the past.
Experts have estimated the program's price tag could be around $32 trillion in new federal spending over a decade, though national health spending overall would decline.
Sanders has sought to highlight weaknesses in the existing system, attacking it as "profit-driven" and "a danger to our people."
"During this crisis, Medicare should cover all health care treatment for free, including coronavirus testing, treatment, and the eventual vaccine," he said in a March 20 tweet.
Half of Americans support Medicare for All, according to a recent Business Insider poll .
Critics, though, argue the plan would reduce the quality and availability of care.
Biden wants to strengthen Obamacare and create an optional government health plan.
The biggest difference between Biden and Sanders is their view on the employer-based system of health coverage currently in place. Biden wants to keep it, while the Vermont senator wants to toss it out and replace it with Medicare for All.
Much of the Biden plan is anchored on improving Obamacare. It would ramp up federal subsidies to make insurance plans cheaper for people to buy on the state exchanges, while also lifting the income threshold, allowing more to qualify for them.
It would also create an optional government health plan to compete with private insurers.
Those living in states that chose not to expand Medicaid would automatically be enrolled into the "public option."
Trump hasn't been clear on his healthcare plan.
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Trump hasn't released a healthcare plan since he tried to repeal the Affordable Care Act in 2017.
But his administration staunchly supports efforts to weaken the law, such as by introducing short-term insurance plans that don't cover people with pre-existing conditions or many types of pricey hospital care.
He also backs a lawsuit that would completely eliminate it.
Over 20 million people could lose their coverage as a result and insurers would be able to deny medical coverage for pre-existing conditions and jack up prices for sick people.
However, Trump has been adamant he would protect pre-existing conditions , though it's not immediately clear how.
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