AGA Washington Insider

A policy blog for GIs

President Obama and the Democrats Make Their Case for Another Term

The Democrats officially nominated President Obama to be their candidate in the November elections as they tried to make their case to the American people for why they deserve another term in the White House. Like the Republicans, the Democratic Party officially adopted their party platform, which focused on the importance of implementing the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA). Much of the Democratic platform stressed the benefits of PPACA, such as insurance reforms, increasing access to care for the uninsured, and increasing access to and coverage of preventive benefits like colorectal cancer screenings. The Democrats want to continue implementing the law and strengthening health-care infrastructure and workforce, especially by increasing the number of primary care physicians.

The Democrats tried to contrast their vision to that of the Republicans. Similar to the Republican platform, the Democratic health platform lacked specific details, but emphasized certain values, such as the importance of strengthening Medicare and Medicaid and not turning the programs into voucher or block grant programs, but instead ensuring they are a guarantee for beneficiaries. The Democrats also emphasized the need to invest in preventive health care and the need to eliminate health-care disparities. Similar to the Republicans, the Democrats stressed the need to invest in biomedical research and researchers themselves “in their lifesaving work.”

With fewer than 60 days until the election, President Obama and his Republican challenger, Mitt Romney, will now take their plans and visions to the American people. Both candidates are preparing for the presidential debates during which health care will undoubtedly be raised; perhaps we will hear more details from both candidates on their proposals. Of course, with the Supreme Court decision on PPACA, President Obama plans to continue implementing the law whereas Governor Romney wants to repeal and replace the law with a more market-driven approach. Much of this will depend on who wins the White House and who controls the Senate, and by how much.

Congress also returns to Washington next week to pass a continuing resolution that will fund the government for the next six months before gearing up for their own elections. The outcome in November will dictate a much anticipated lame duck session of Congress during which tough decisions will need to be made on tax cuts, Medicare physician payment cuts and other expiring extensions. The election is gearing up to be another close race and AGA will continue to closely watch the outcome and its impact on gastroenterology.

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