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Oct 07, 2016

Presidential Debate #2: Will They or Won’t They Discuss Healthcare?

While we can’t make any promises as to whether or not Clinton or Trump will bring up healthcare in Sunday’s town hall, the odds of it happening are looking better.

Since the September 26 debate, both have released more detailed versions of their proposals to the public. 

In Clinton’s New England Journal Medicine article, “My Vision for Universal, Quality, Affordable Health Care,” which was published two days after the first debate, she focuses in on four policy areas: improving the ACA, affordability, integration, and innovation. In terms of improvements to the ACA, she stated that she would like to continue to expand Medicaid, enhance tax credits for families, and allow for individuals over the age of 55 to purchase Medicare plans. New Avalere analysis shows that 8 million people would be eligible for this option. Several of Clinton’s plans targeted at addressing affordability specifically call out issues related to drug pricing. Some of the most significant are: eliminating pay-for-delay, allowing Medicare to negotiate for prescription drugs, and creating a Federal Consumer Response team charged with identifying excessive price spikes. Under the integration category, she calls for the need to improve access to primary, dental, and mental healthcare. Lastly, for innovation, she states that she would like to increase funding for diseases like HIV/AIDs and Alzheimer’s and would like to continue work on the Cancer Moonshot

Just yesterday, Trump released more detailed information about his priority areas for healthcare. While many of his stances have not changed, his latest version does show a bit of an evolution on some issues. Trump had previously stated that he would allow for Medicare Part D negotiation. That is noticeably missing from his latest policy framework; however, he continues to push for drug importation in this current round.  One new area, which Trump called out in his “Healthcare Reform” document was requiring price transparency for all healthcare providers. Trump stated that, “all individuals should be able to shop to find the best prices for procedures, exams or any other medical-related procedure.” What else hasn’t changed? Repealing the ACA, implementing Medicaid block grants, creating lifetime health savings accounts, purchasing health insurance across state lines, and allowing individuals to fully deduct their health insurance premium payments from their tax returns.

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