The election is almost here and it’s an extremely important one when it comes to health care. Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, nobody gets to go through life without dealing with health care or health insurance (or both). So you’d better get informed before Election Day to make the best choice possible. Being undecided is simply not an option anymore!
While it’s true that the president can’t directly do very much about health care, as we explained in our article The 2016 Presidential Race and the Future of Health Care, we’ve seen how influential President Obama was in taking the Affordable Care Act over the finish line.
The next president will make a major difference when it comes to our health care (and many other issues, too). The better you understand the options, the more confidence you will have in your vote.
Get the facts about Trump’s 7 Point Plan
The information about Trump’s plan is summarized from a 9/27/16 presentation on the topic of “The Presidential Candidates: Their Health Plans” given by Gerald F. Kominski, PhD, Director of the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research.
- Completely repeal Obamacare.
- Permit the sale of health insurance across state lines.
- Allow individuals to fully deduct health insurance premiums from income taxes.
- Allow individuals to use Health Savings Accounts (HSAs).
- Require price transparency from all healthcare providers, especially doctors and healthcare organizations like clinics and hospitals.
- Block-grant Medicaid to the states.
- Remove barriers to entry into free markets for drug providers that offer safe, reliable and cheaper products.
What would be the impact of Trump’s plan?
It would be very disruptive, and not in a good way. About 20 million people would no longer qualify for Medicaid, including millions of Californians on Medi-Cal. We’d go back to the days of pre-existing conditions and policy cancellations for being sick.
In addition, Trump’s plan would be bad news for equality in health care. For example, deducting health insurance premiums from income taxes would benefit the wealthy more than the poor. Medicaid Block Grants means that we’d have as many different eligibility standards as we have individual states. What little standardization we have would go out the window.
And selling health insurance across state lines would result in a race to the bottom when it comes to quality. Health insurers would simply set up in states with minimal regulations and weak consumer protections. Since each one of our 50 states has distinctly different regulations, it would be extremely difficult to figure out which policies would be best.
Trump’s plan rests on the idea that health care is a market, and therefore solutions that are market-based are what we need.
Get the Facts about Clinton’s 4 Point Plan
The information about Clinton’s 4 Point Plan is summarized from Hillary Clinton’s article My Vision for Universal, Quality, Affordable Health Care published on 9/28/16 in the New England Journal of Medicine and includes material from the 9/27/16 presentation by Dr. Kominski (UCLA).
- Improve – not repeal – the Affordable Care Act.
- Ensure greater affordability for all Americans.
- Achieve improved health and health care in an integrated fashion.
- Secure true innovations in diagnosing, treating, and curing disease.
What would be the impact of Clinton’s Plan?
It would fix some of the problems with the Affordable Care Act. Her solutions include expanding Medicaid coverage in the 19 states that rejected it, enhancing tax credits on premiums to make them more affordable, eliminating the “family glitch,” limiting the cost of prescription drugs and allowing Medicare to negotiate for drug prices.
As for “integration,” Clinton’s plan would also address to some degree the lack of access to mental, dental, and reproductive health care faced by many Americans.
And it would promote innovation and investment in research.
However, like Trump’s plan, it assumes that health care is a “market,” and that making money off limiting or denying health care is ok. In other words, there is no “paradigm shift” or “disruptive innovation” inherent in the Clinton plan. It’s more of the same old, same old health-insurer-gravy-train.
When all is said and done, neither Trump’s nor Clinton’s plan would make coverage universal, set maximums on premiums charged or expand provider networks to include all doctors.
Here’s what we think:
The most important criteria for our healthcare system are that it be universal, equitable, comprehensive, affordable, and high quality. We support Improved, Expanded Medicare for All because an integrated public health insurance system could be designed to meet those criteria.
Our current system is too fractionalized, with way too many payers, to achieve equality of access, affordability or quality.
Looking beyond the systemic obstacles, the private health insurers themselves play a major and negative role in our health care, mainly because their priorities suck. But admittedly they were much worse before the Affordable Care Act. They refused to cover people who were sick, and cancelled insurance for people when they got sick.
Certainly nobody wants to go back to the “bad old days,” but clearly, healthcare reform so far just isn’t cutting it!
If you agree that health care should be universal, high quality, easy and affordable, instead of a hassle, join us. Together, we will win!