Skip to content
My WebMD Sign In, Sign Up

Information and Resources

Vice Presidential Nominee Profile: Joe Biden

Joe Biden on Health Care

Joe Biden, the veteran senator of Delaware, had made a bid for the presidency but dropped out in January after a poor showing in the Iowa caucus. As a candidate, his positions on health care were closely aligned with Sen. Obama's. On a personal note, Biden, 65, suffered two aneurysms in 1988 that required surgery. Biden stuttered as a child, and suffered personal tragedy in 1972 when his first wife Neila, and infant daughter Naomi were killed in a car crash.

More about Biden's health care proposals while he was running for president can be found below:

Health Insurance: Private/Government

  • Develop a universal comprehensive health care program for every American using both federal and private, free-market approaches.
  • Include business, insurance companies, the health care industry, the American Medical Association, unions, and the government in negotiating a comprehensive plan within 90 days of taking office.
  • Extend the coverage of the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) to include children to at least age 21; cover children whose families are at least at 300% of the federal poverty level ($61,950 for a family of four).
  • Enable all families to participate in SCHIP through a sliding-scale insurance premium program and co-payments based on their income.
  • Eliminate SCHIP co-payments for preventive dental checkups, physicals, vision and hearing screenings, and vaccinations.
  • Mandate uniform billing/claims forms and provide federal funding to states to accomplish that.
  • Allow uninsured to buy in to a program similar to what member of Congress and federal workers have (FEHBP) -- paying on a sliding scale based on income. Small businesses would share costs with the government.
  • Provide federal funding (a reinsurance pool) that would cover 75% of catastrophic health costs for employees and their family members, retirees, insurers, and associations. Allow approved small businesses to participate in the pool. A catastrophic health problem would qualify if it cost more than $50,000 to treat.
  • Permit insurance companies to access federal funding if they agree not to turn away applicants because of pre-existing conditions.
  • Provide grants to states to develop information technology systems (electronic record keeping) for health care.

Medical Costs

  • Biden puts a strong emphasis on prevention of disease and managing chronic conditions. He would increase funding for programs that promote awareness of these conditions.
  • Identify the best ways to manage chronic diseases by evaluating technology, devices, and medical protocols through the establishment of a new "Comparative Effectiveness Panel."
  • Invest at least $1 billion annually in technology to improve communications and care quality, as well as to guard against duplication of services.

Health Savings Accounts

Biden opposes health savings accounts.

Drugs: Costs/Importation

  • Use the federal government's bulk purchasing power to negotiate lower prices for prescription drugs for the Medicare Part D program. The Veterans Administration currently does this, but current Medicare law prohibits government negotiation with pharmaceutical companies.
  • Close the gap in Medicare benefits, the so-called "doughnut hole," which occurs when a Medicare recipient hits $2,400 in coverage, and then must pay for his or her drugs out-of-pocket until costs reach $5,451.

WebMD Medical Reference

Hot Topics

Health Solutions From Our Sponsors

WebMD Video: Now Playing

Click here to wach video: Dirty Truth About Hand Washing

Which sex is the worst about washing up? Why is it so important? We’ve got the dirty truth on how and when to wash your hands.

Click here to watch video: Dirty Truth About Hand Washing

Popular Slideshows & Tools on WebMD

tea
What you should eat.
Woman sitting in front of UV lights
Is yours working?
woman using breath spray
What's causing yours?
colon xray
Get the facts.
MS Overview
Recognizing symptoms.
bowl of yogurt with heart shape
Eat for a healthy heart.
woman doing pushups
To help you get fit.
Colored x-ray of tooth decay
Know what to look for.
Woman sitting with child
Do you know the symptoms?
fruit drinks
Foods that can help you focus.
Sad dog and guacamole
Don't feed this to your dog.
Thyroid exam
See how much you know.

Women's Health Newsletter

Find out what women really need.