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2020 candidates views on supporting Americans with disabilities

By: Carley Crain

With the 2020 election drawing closer, it is important to educate and learn about what each candidate stands for and how they will lead the United States.

One hot topic that each presidential candidate has addressed is how they will support the 61 million Americans and their families who have disabilities. 

Many Americans with disabilities struggle to find good-paying jobs or educational opportunities in the current U.S environment when they shouldn’t have too, thus becoming a primary concern for many American families. 

This past June, Democratic candidate Joe Biden released his extensive 775-billion-dollar disability plan that aims to strengthen governmental programs such as Medicare and Medicaid, ensure access to affordable and quality healthcare, and expand educational, work, technology, housing, and transportation opportunities for disabled Americans. 

Another piece of Biden’s disability plan is to include people with disabilities in policy development by adding a new senior White House position that is devoted to community engagement and policy creation for disabled Americans, “to ensure that these issues receive the attention they deserve at the highest levels of government and are integrated into broader policy discussions.”  

Biden also wants to continue to support and enforce existing laws and Supreme Court rulings that help disabled Americans, like the Equality Act, the Olmstead decision, and the Paycheck Fairness Act. 

One of Biden’s main points of his disability plan is to continue to support and fund government programs scuh as Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid.

He is seeking to add the Social Security Caregiver Credit Act — which offers social security benefits to people who leave the workforce to care for their family members. 

Biden also wants to improve the Medicaid buy-in program which “allows workers with disabilities to maintain their Medicaid benefits.” Additionally, the former Vice President is seeking to increase the benefit level for these programs and to end the waiting period to access benefits. 

Since many disabled Americans have large amounts of medical debt and high insurance costs, one of Biden’s main goals as President is to expand access to affordable and high-quality healthcare by continuing to support the Affordable Care Act — which has provided over 100 million people health insurance despite having a pre-existing condition. 

Biden wants to build on this and ensure that everyone has the opportunity to buy the public health insurance option, even if they do not have access to employer benefits.

As President, Biden also wants to work with insurance companies to increase premium tax cuts and to stop “surprise billing” from out of network providers. 

Another huge aspect of Biden’s disability plan is to ensure access to quality mental health and behavioral treatment by increasing the number of mental health professionals, supporting veterans with mental health issues, and investing in research. He has made this a top priority and wants to work to end the stigma surrounding mental health. 

He also wants to expand opportunities for disabled Americans, whether it is in the workplace, public school system, or government. 

On the other hand, President Donald Trump has been vocal about cutting programs such as Medicare and Medicaid. 

Trump has proposed potential cuts to both of these programs if re-elected and also supports a lawsuit that would overturn The Affordable Care Act. Recently, Trump has stated that he will release his healthcare plan but has yet to do so. 

Last month Trump signed an executive order that is targeted at lowering prescription drug prices, which would potentially help many Americans with disabilities. The bill is complicated though and could take years to develop and advance. 

Trump has also vocalized that if re-elected, his administration is seeking to delay payroll taxes that fund social security and eventually eliminate these taxes.

By doing this, it could potentially result in steep benefit cuts and could “completely exhaust the Social Security trust fund by 2026 or earlier.”

With millions of disabled Americans suffering from lack of government support, this issue has sparked mass interest in this year’s election.

Democratic candidate Joe Biden has proposed his 775-billion-dollar disability plan that highlights strengthening government programs, such as Medicare and Medicaid as well as advancing opportunities for disabled Americans.

President Trump has yet to come out with a detailed disability plan but has announced that he wants to cut programs such as Medicare and Medicaid.

With contrasting beliefs, each candidate has a different take on helping Americans with disabilities, but what is not in question is providing these citizens with the support that they need and deserve.  

Photo Courtesy:  CNN

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