Days after winning the 2020 US Presidential election, Biden has already announced his plans to address the health of the nation—starting with assembling a COVID-19 task force for managing the new surge in cases, protecting at-risk populations, and federalizing coronavirus response efforts.
Beyond this recent announcement, Biden’s other top healthcare plans include preserving the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and increasing telehealth access—both of which have downstream effects on bolstering digital health.
- Biden plans to restore and reinforce the ACA—which swells the pool of digital health users and supports the growth of digital health firms’ business. For context, under the Trump administration, over 2.3 million individuals lost coverage as a result of attacks on the ACA. This has implications on digital health, as the ACA promotes and covers connected care apps, which gives mobile health (mHealth) vendors the opportunity to tap a wide range of users. Further, many digital health startups also depend on ACA markets as crucial components of their business strategies to reel in revenue.
- He has also proposed expanding telehealth to rural communities. This would address key pain points hampering rural healthcare access: geographic distance, limited resources, and growing scarcity of providers. Early last week, we predicted that a Biden administration would continue to support telehealth expansion, especially as the pandemic rages on—and this stance was echoed later in a November 7 PwC report.
Though Biden won the election, his proposals will be met with friction as he faces a congressional gridlock, with the Republican party retaining control of the Senate. A Republican majority Senate would be an impediment to passing some of the more progressive health policies Biden plans to enact—a fortified ACA being part of the mix.
There is a small chance that the runoff election will tip the Senate scale in favor of the Democratic party and thus Biden’s agenda. But as of now, the Republicans’ upper hand in the Senate could potentially obstruct progress to the proposals Biden has laid out, and thus could hold back broadening access to digital health and innovations in the market.