Healthcare and the 2016 Presidential Election
As the 2016 U.S. presidential election ramps up, political party candidates are addressing various issues important to Americans. Among the most critical areas of concern remains healthcare, which accounts for an annual total revenue of $1.668 trillion, or 20 percent of U.S. gross domestic product (GDP).
In the face of escalating costs, an aging population, rising chronic health conditions, and a shortage of healthcare professionals, the healthcare industry is trying to find new ways to maximize resources and increase efficiency in order to achieve more effective patient care. Access and affordability remain tantamount for those who seek healthcare in this country, and presenting a comprehensive and thoughtful plan will play an important role in the upcoming presidential election.
Hillary Clinton’s Healthcare Philosophy
Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton is not new to the fight to expand healthcare access for every American. In the 1990s, she worked to reform healthcare and reached across the aisle to help pass the Children’s Health Insurance Program, which today covers 8 million kids. She has been a staunch proponent for universal, quality, affordable healthcare.
“As your president, I want to build on the progress we’ve made,” she said. “I’ll do more to bring down healthcare costs for families, ease burdens on small businesses, and make sure consumers have the choices they deserve. And frankly, it is finally time for us to deal with the skyrocketing out-of-pocket health costs, and particularly runaway prescription drug prices.”
Hillary Clinton’s Healthcare Plan: What You Need to Know
Clinton has come up with a comprehensive healthcare plan that includes several action items:
- Defend and expand the Affordable Care Act, which covers 20 million people. Build on the Affordable Care Act’s success to bring the promise of affordable healthcare to more people and make a “public option” possible. Clinton also supports letting people over 55 years old buy into Medicare.
- Bring down out-of-pocket costs like copay’s and deductibles. Ensure workers share in slower growth of national healthcare spending through lower costs.
- Reduce the cost of prescription drugs. Demand lower drug costs for hardworking families and seniors.
- Protect consumers from unjustified prescription drug price increases from companies that market long-standing, life-saving treatments and face little or no competition. Introduce new enforcement tools that make drug alternatives available and increase competition, broaden emergency access to high-quality treatments from developed countries with strong safety standards, and hold drug companies accountable for unjustified price increases with new penalties.
- Fight for health insurance for the lowest-income Americans in every state by incentivizing states to expand Medicaid. Make enrollment through Medicaid and the Affordable Care Act easier.
- Expand access to affordable health care to families regardless of immigration status. Allow families to buy health insurance on the health exchanges regardless of their immigration status.
- Expand access to rural Americans, who often have difficulty finding quality, affordable health care. Explore cost-effective ways to make more healthcare providers eligible for telehealth reimbursement under Medicare and other programs, including federally qualified health centers and rural health clinics.
- Defend access to reproductive health care. Ensure all women have access to preventive care, affordable contraception, and safe and legal abortion.
- Double funding for community health centers, and support the healthcare workforce: Double the funding for primary care services at community health centers over the next decade. Clinton also supports President Obama’s call for a near tripling of the size of the National Health Service Corps.
Addiction and Substance Abuse Plan
In an effort to address a multitude of pressing healthcare challenges, Clinton has also laid out strategies for dealing with Alzheimer’s, autism, mental health and substance abuse, public health infrastructure, environmental health, and women’s health.
With nearly 23 million Americans suffering from a substance use disorder and only about 11 percent receiving treatment, addiction and substance abuse represents an insidious national problem. Clinton has proposed a bold plan to prevent and treat addiction, support people in recovery, and take on this epidemic head on. If elected, she will launch a $7.5 billion fund to support new federal-state partnerships that will empower local leaders to implement programs that work for their respective communities.
As a comprehensive set of strategies, Clinton’s healthcare plan was formulated with the goal of getting the United States closer to the day when everyone has access to quality, affordable healthcare.
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