Biden campaigned on strengthening the Affordable Care Act by introducing a public option.
Former Vice President Joe Biden, who campaigned on strengthening the Affordable Care Act (ACA), has been elected president, according to projections from multiple media outlets.
Biden defeated incumbent President Donald Trump, who has not conceded the race as of Saturday evening.
President-elect Biden was a longtime senator from Delaware before serving as vice president to former President Barack Obama from 2009 to 2017.
He will inherit significant challenges related to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, which has killed over 230,000 Americans.
A hallmark of the Biden campaign was a promise to bolster the ACA by introducing a public option and lowering the age of Medicare eligibility to 60. Despite pressure from fellow Democratic presidential hopefuls during the party primary contests, Biden never embraced calls for a 'Medicare for All' style healthcare plan.
Meanwhile, Trump ran on a pledge to repeal and replace the ACA while promising to protect patients with pre-existing conditions. However, after several failed attempts to pass a repeal-and-replace measure in 2017, the administration never produced a long-awaited comprehensive healthcare plan.
Biden's election comes ahead of the oral arguments at the Supreme Court in the ongoing California v. Texas case, which could potentially rule the landmark healthcare law unconstitutional.
Healthcare groups weigh in on Biden victory
Shortly after media outlets declared Biden as the president-elect, numerous healthcare groups and leaders released statements about the incoming administration.
Rick Pollack, CEO of the American Hospital Association, congratulated Biden in a statement released Saturday afternoon and said he looks forward to working with the new administration to "make progress on the important issues facing the healthcare field, and the patients and communities we serve."
"We both share the same top priority: fighting the battle against COVID-19. As we continue on the front lines in this fight, we will work as partners to protect our patients and communities, as well as support our brave healthcare workers," Pollack said. "Our other priorities remain the same: advancing the transformation of healthcare, ensuring access to coverage, enhancing the quality of care and making healthcare more affordable."
Bruce Siegel, MD, MPH, CEO of America’s Essential Hospitals, echoed similar sentiments in a statement released Saturday.
"We congratulate President-Elect Joe Biden and Vice President–Elect Kamala Harris for their historic election victory, and we look forward to working with them to defeat COVID-19, strengthen our healthcare safety net, and confront structural racism as an urgent public health threat," Siegel said.
Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) CEO David J. Skorton, MD, said in a statement that the election results point to the "urgent need" to unite as a nation and "overcome the challenges we face."
"The AAMC looks forward to working with President-elect Biden, the new administration, and the new Congress to defeat the coronavirus pandemic, safely reopen businesses and schools, and stabilize the economy," Skorton said. "As a non-partisan association, we also will continue to provide our clinical and scientific expertise and work with the current administration and Congress to help reduce the severity and scope of the pandemic, speed the development of effective treatments and cures, and ensure that the needs of marginalized individuals and communities are met."
Margaret A. Murray, CEO of the Association for Community Affiliated Plans (ACAP), said in a statement that the organization looks forward to working with the Biden administration to "protect and expand" Medicaid.
"ACAP and Safety Net Health Plans stand ready to help President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris make Medicaid, Medicare and Marketplace coverage work better for the millions of Americans who rely on it," Murray said. "We are eager to work with an administration committed to strengthening the consumer protections of the ACA and lowering the number of our fellow Americans who live without comprehensive health coverage"
Jack O'Brien is the Content Team Lead and Finance Editor at HealthLeaders, an HCPro brand.
Photo credit: PHILADELPHIA - MAY 18, 2019: Former vice-president Joe Biden formally launches his 2020 presidential campaign during a rally May 18, 2019, at Eakins Oval in Philadelphia. / Editorial credit: Matt Smith Photographer / Shutterstock.com