When it comes to politics, you could call me a-political. If faced with a choice between donkeys or elephants, I’d likely go with a giraffe. That’s not to say I’m not interested in politics, but my work in PR means I understand the behind-the-scenes message and perception crafting which inherently makes me more suspicious. And I’ll admit, I don’t take the time to weed through all of the information on each candidate’s true position, so I don’t always feel informed enough to have an educated opinion.
But because I work in healthcare, which is a major topic in the political landscape – at least in between the mudslinging – I do believe it’s important that I understand where candidates stand on these issues so I know how a decision could affect my clients (and me as a potential patient/consumer). So as we move toward conventions, I’m wading through the muck and sharing my findings with you. Here’s a very basic overview of where the candidates stand on a number of hot topics in healthcare:
- Clinton: Doesn’t think the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is perfect but does believe it is working and supports the sentiment, so would keep most of it with a few key improvements. She has also proposed the idea of “public option” which would allow Americans to buy into Medicare before the age of 65.
- Sanders: Believes that while the ACA was an important step, the solution to America’s healthcare crisis is a Medicare-for-all, single-payer (universal) healthcare system that would cover all medically necessary care, including long-term care, without cost-sharing.
- Trump: Strongly opposed to the ACA and was most recently a proponent of a private system, but has expressed support of a universal system in the past. In March, he released a seven-point plan for healthcare reform based on “free market principles,” which would include repealing Obamacare.
- Clinton: For a woman’s right to choose and would not require parental consent for minors. Also believes Planned Parenthood should receive federal funding.
- Sanders: For a woman’s right to choose and would not require parental consent for minors. Also believes Planned Parenthood should receive federal funding.
- Trump: Opposed to abortion with exceptions for cases involving rape or incest and against federal funding for Planned Parenthood.
- Clinton: Believes it is within a state’s province to make the final decision, but supports legalization of euthanasia (physician-assisted suicide).
- Sanders: For the legalization of euthanasia.
- Trump: Has not spoken or shared his views on the topic.
- Clinton: Would lower out-of-pocket costs like copays and deductibles.
- Sanders: His universal healthcare plan would eliminate all copays and deductibles and instead charge households and employers an income-based premium. He would also raise income tax for those making about $250,000 to help fund this plan.
- Trump: Believes that creating full competition in the insurance market by removing state lines would reduce insurance costs. His seven-point plan includes instituting a full tax deduction for insurance premium payments for individuals and increasing price transparency so patients can shop for the best price. Also says his stance on enforcing immigration laws could also help reduce healthcare costs.
Prescription Drug Costs
- Clinton: Would impose a $250 monthly cap on prescription drugs for patients with chronic or serious health conditions and legalize prescription drug imports from Canada.
- Sanders: Outspoken about the need to lower outrageously high prescription drug prices, especially those for individuals with HIV and AIDS. He proposed a plan for a $3 billion “Prize Fund for HIV/AIDS” to support innovation in drug research and avoid monopolies. Would also allow individuals, pharmacists and wholesalers to import prescription drugs from licensed Canadian pharmacies.
- Trump: His seven-point plan includes allowing for more overseas drug providers through lowered regulatory barriers.
- Clinton: Unveiled a plan in January to expand autism insurance and access to early screening. She would also seek to establish the Autism Works Initiative to increase the number of employed people with autism. Clinton is also passionate about combating Alzheimer’s disease with a plan that includes an investment of $2 billion per year in research to find a cure by 2025.
- Sanders: Plans to fight for disability rights and is a co-sponsor of the National Nursing Shortage Reform and Patient Advocacy Act to improve working conditions for nurses.
- Trump: Passionate about healthcare for veterans and says he will work to ensure veterans have convenient access to the best quality care.
So, there you have it. I’m sure as we get closer to November, candidates will further clarify their stance on these issues, but before we head to the polls it’s crucial for us all (even my a-political peers) to do our due diligence and understand candidate’s positions on topics that are most important to us. Even this giraffe knows voting is a right and responsibility that should be taken seriously.
If you are looking for more details or to do some of your own digging, the following sources were used to research this post: Ballotpedia, ProCon.org, The New York Times, Healthcare Finance News and H&HN.