Fact-Checking the First 2020 Presidential Debate


— Mr. Trump

Mr. Trump has signed four executive orders on drug prices, which direct the Department of Health and Human Services to pursue various policies to lower drug prices. But none of them have gone into effect yet. The policy Trump described in the most detail, his “most favored nations” policy, will be difficult to implement without new legislation, and will be vulnerable to court challenges. And that policy would only influence the prices paid by the Medicare program for drugs, not the prices paid by Americans who buy their own health insurance or get it from their jobs.

— Mr. Trump

Mr. Trump was referring to Mr. Biden’s health care platform. The left wing of the Democratic Party has embraced Medicare for All, the universal government run insurance program advocated by Senator Bernie Sanders, independent of Vermont, and a self-described democratic socialist.

But Mr. Biden has not embraced Medicare for all. He supports expanding the Affordable Care Act, which relies on the current system of private insurers. Mr. Biden, would, however, favor adding a “public option” to the Affordable Care Act — a government run-program that would cover people qualify for Medicaid, the government insurance program for the poor.

— Mr. Biden

Judge Amy Coney Barrett, Mr. Trump’s nominee for the Supreme Court, has expressed reservations about the reasoning in Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr.’s opinion in 2012 upholding a central provision of the Affordable Care Act. But she has not expressed a view about the constitutionality of the entire law or about a challenge to it pending in the Supreme Court.

— Mr. Biden

President Trump’s Justice Department is arguing in Supreme Court briefs that the entirety of the Affordable Care Act should be overturned. The effects of that reversal will be far-reaching. Mr. Biden’s estimate that 20 million more Americans will have health insurance is consistent with calculations from the Urban Institute, a Washington research group with a widely respected model that the measures the likely effects of changes in health policy. But that estimate is a bit out of date, since fewer Americans have coverage now than did before the Coronavirus pandemic.

— Mr. Trump

Judge Amy Coney Barrett, Mr. Trump’s nominee for the Supreme Court, has been endorsed by at least one prominent liberal, Noah Feldman, a law professor at Harvard. Many Democrats object to the process used to place her on the court without questioning her qualifications.



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