Without fail, during each presidential election a candidate’s stance on healthcare is a central theme of his or her campaign. Americans want to know that the candidate they support understands the current healthcare landscape and can deliver on the promise to make improvements to the current system. As a voter, you want to ensure that your candidate understands the healthcare landscape, cares about healthcare price comparison and believes that their impending presidency can make improvements to overall medical costs. Regardless of your party affiliation, take a look at what the 2016 candidates have to say about healthcare from their respective party platform soapbox.
Democratic Candidate Hillary Clinton
Aliases: “The Hill” – “Hill Dog” – “Crooked Hillary”
Overall stance: Clinton is firmly tethered to The Affordable Care Act, which we shall hence force refer to as Obamacare. Additionally, she recommends a series of minor changes that will reduce out-of-pocket costs to consumers. Clinton also supports Americans enrolling in Medicare upon turning 55.
Obamacare: Clinton plans to build upon the groundwork for Obamacare and wants to mandate that insurers and employers provide up to 3 sick visits to a doctor annually without requiring the person to meet the plan’s deductible first.
Mental Health: Clinton announced a plan for mental health in which healthcare will be called to deliver quality treatment and access to care for those with mental health problems.
Drug Companies: Clinton recently got into it with Mylan, the manufacturers of EpiPen, demanding they reduce the product’s costs, after reports divulged the price of EpiPens had increased by 400 percent in recent years. This is just one example of Clinton’s crusade against Big Pharma.
Pediatric Health: When discussing children’s health, Clinton has said, “No parent should be told ‘no’ for healthcare for their kids.” She has also fought for a new rule that would force pharmaceutical companies to test new drugs for child safety.
Medical Research: Clinton is a large proponent of increasing funding for both Alzheimer’s and autism research.
Veterans: Clinton calls for a revamp of the current VA health standards, citing that we have failed our veterans with poor healthcare.
Takeaway: Clinton is opting to ride it out on Obama’s healthcare execution, while building on its foundations.
Republican Nominee Donald Trump
Aliases: “The Donald” – “Donald Drumpf” – “Tangerine Tornado”
Overall Stance: Supports the repeal of Obamacare and proposes reforming healthcare based on “free market principles” and easing regulations on overseas drug providers. Though he has called repeatedly for the repeal of Obamacare, he does support the decree that all Americans be required to purchase health insurance.
Free Market Reform: In March, Trump released his seven-point plan for healthcare reform, touting “free market principles.” This would include: repealing Obamacare, reducing barriers to interstate sale of health insurance, full tax deduction for insurance premium payments for individuals, allowing Health Savings Accounts to be inheritable, an increase in healthcare price transparency tools, blocking grant Medicaid to the states and allowing for more overseas drug providers through lowered regulations.
Immigration and Healthcare: Trump urges the government to save money by reducing illegal immigrants’ access to healthcare.
Prescription Drug Costs: By removing barriers to the free market, drug providers that offer safe and reliable products will be able to do so at a cheaper price. Trump also surprised us all by calling for Medicare to be able to negotiate prescription drug prices, something that current law prohibits.
Birth Control: Trump has stated he is not in favor of having a prescription for birth control.
Takeaway: Often criticized in the beginning of his campaign for sounding “vague” when it comes to a healthcare stance, Trump finally has started to form a more concrete proposal. Whether Trump’s proposals can be achieved, is the question.
Libertarian Nominee Gary Johnson
Aliases: “Gare Bear” – “Governor Veto” – “That Libertarian Guy”
Overall Stance: Johnson holds a stringent stance that the government should have no part in healthcare. Johnson believes that Obamacare’s promise of lowering healthcare costs has simply not happened.
Prescription Drug Prices: Johnson believes that government should not regulate the prices of life-saving prescription drugs.
Medicaid: Johnson believes each state should decide their own level of coverage and the government should not increase the federal funding of healthcare for low-income individuals and families.
Vaccines: In an effort to clarify his stance on mandatory vaccines, Johnson has said there should be no federals laws mandating vaccinations in an order to preserve individual freedom. Though he does believe that vaccines save lives.
Takeaway: While Johnson is clear on his stance against the Affordable Care Act and government-run healthcare platforms, he has yet to create an actionable plan for healthcare reform.
Whether you’re voting left or right, blue or red, female or male, or simply opting to leave the country, one thing is certain: a candidate’s stance on healthcare issues is more important and relevant that ever before.
Guest Post: Alex Faubel