Billionaire entrepreneur Mark Cuban said recently that it’s “highly unlikely” that he’ll run for president in 2020.
But if he changes his mind, the investor and Dallas Mavericks owner would immediately tackle healthcare if he won the White House.
“Stranger things have happened. I’m an entrepreneur. I’m never going to say, ‘No,” Cuban said last week during a Verizon Media special event, RESET YOUR MINDSET AT WORK. That said, he’d tackle one of the most polarizing issues in politics.
“We haven’t even had a basic discussion about what happens to healthcare,” Cuban said, when pressed on what he would fundamentally change if he were president.
On top of the COVID-19 crisis, an economic crisis has erupted, with more than 40 million Americans filing for unemployment insurance claims in the last ten weeks. The end result has seen many lose their employer-sponsored health insurance plans.
“So we went from an environment where we had 45 million people who are eligible for the [Affordable Care Act], and 150 million who were on their employer payroll that could get health insurance through their employer,” Cuban said.
“Now, those numbers can be completely backwards,” the investor added.
According to Cuban’s calculations, there may be 75 million people who are now eligible for the ACA, and around 110 million currently on employer-based insurance.
“That creates a whole set of issues in terms of having people have a safety net and being able to take care of their families if somebody gets sick, not just from COVID, but all the other things we get sick from,” Cuban said.
“And no one has had even the briefest conversation about that. That’s awful,” he added. “Again, that goes back to leadership from both sides. And so that’s the first thing I would do.”
While acknowledging that healthcare is a more extended discussion, Cuban explained in a follow-up email with Yahoo Finance that his plan “would be the federal government acting as an insurance company, and effectively paying Medicare rates with premiums being means-tested.”
He added that the rates would range from 0% for those earning less than 250% of the federal poverty level and go up to 10% for those making up to $1.5 million per year. Cuban noted that there would “one huge difference” from traditional health plans.
“Because insurance premiums are designed to help the insurance company build a financial base, something the federal government doesn’t need help with, premiums wouldn’t start until you used the system,” he wrote, adding that “eligibility would be for anyone who doesn’t have healthcare or [Medicare/Medicaid] or an employer.”
He pointed out that before the pandemic, that number was 46 million, but now it’s closer to 80 million people. All 80 million of those people “would be immediately covered,” he wrote.
Julia La Roche is a Correspondent at Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter.