For the health-insured and uninsured alike, conversation about healthcare has been changing, and escalating. With US healthcare costs rising faster than inflation rates, many alarmed consumers, patients, and citizens of all ages feel helpless and confused when it comes to insurance, drug costs, and healthcare bills.
What can be done in the United States to reduce healthcare costs? Currently, many who need medical attention refuse to seek care simply because of cost–What will this mean for doctors and healthcare professionals?
2016 presidential hopefuls aim to answer these questions.
Since the Affordable Care Act’s passing in 2010 and its controversial responses, presidential candidates have felt the pressure to largely focus on many aspects of healthcare on the campaign trail.
No matter the stance, all candidates agree that healthcare is a pivotal issue, and one that has the potential to alter America’s future.
When it comes to Republican candidates of 2016, the unanimous goal is to repeal the Affordable Care Act, which aimed to “[put] consumers back in charge of their health care … and give them the stability and flexibility they need to make informed choices about their health” (www.hhs.gov). Many Republican candidates have stated the current model is restricting, and they have proposed different styles of healthcare systems to replace the ACA, which would change the face of healthcare for citizens and healthcare professionals alike.
Ted Cruz also aims to repeal Obamacare if elected–and is against socialized medicine. He also strongly stands against any federal healthcare takeover. In August of 2015, he stated, “I’ve been proud to lead the fight to stop Obamacare in the United States Senate, against the Washington cartel. And there are a lot of politicians in Washington that have largely given up. They don’t believe Obamacare can ever be repealed, including, sadly, a fair number of Republicans. I don’t believe that. I intend to make 2016 a referendum on repealing Obamacare, and if I’m elected president, we will repeal every word of Obamacare and we’ll pass commonsense health insurance reform to make health insurance personal and portable and affordable.” He intends to expand HSAs by allowing citizens to purchase insurance across state lines.
John Kasich aims to replace the Affordable Care Act with a different system–one that is “market-driven, that would begin to shift us to quality-based health care rather than quantity-based health care. In other words, with the primary care doctor being the shepherd to shepherd us through our health care needs, with insurance companies and hospitals working together to share profits, to share the gains they make by keeping people healthy rather than treating them on the basis of how they’re sick” (NPR). Unlike many other Republican representatives, he chose to expand Medicaid in his state.
Marco Rubio has voted in the past to repeal large portions of the Affordable Care Act. He wrote in Politico magazine that his health care reform plan includes three components: creating an advanceable, refundable tax credit that Americans can use to purchase health insurance, reforming insurance regulations to lower costs and encourage innovation, and creating financially stable paths for Medicare and Medicaid to ensure they do not run out of money.
Donald Trump also strongly advocates for the repeal of Obamacare, especially focusing on insurance companies. Though he does not support socialized medicine, he will be proposing a health plan that will “return authority to the states and operate under free market principles.” His proposed plan will “provide choice to the buyer, provide individual tax relief for health insurance and keep plans portable and affordable. Ideally, the plan will allow individuals to buy across state lines, breaking up health insurance companies.
The Democratic party agrees that affordable healthcare is a human right–and it aims to expand on the Affordable Care Act, unlike its Republican counterparts. Here’s what you need to know about the two candidates:
Hillary Clinton aims to slow the growth of healthcare costs, in order for “providers to deliver the very best care to patients.” She believes in universal coverage–aiming to provide coverage for 100% of Americans by supporting the expansion of Medicaid. She plans to “vigorously enforce” certain aspects of the Affordable Care Act, such as requiring health insurers and providers to disclose all costs and pertinent information to consumers. She also announced a plan to treat and prevent Alzheimer’s disease, researching to find a cure by the year 2025.
Bernie Sanders supports a single-payer system that he dubs “Medicare for All”, which would ideally ensure each American has access to healthcare regardless of income or other factors. He supports federal spending on training healthcare providers–which he says will ensure a strong healthcare workforce for the future. Under his plan, patients will be able to choose a health care provider “without worrying about whether that provider is in-network and will be able to get the care they need without having to read any fine print or trying to figure out how they can afford the out-of-pocket costs.” This would be paid for by alterations in taxes, including those paid by employers.
When becoming informed of possible future healthcare plans, the most important thing to think about is the patient.
What, and who, can create the most seamless process possible when it comes to insurance, appointments, prescriptions, and follow-up care?
Affordable healthcare is a universal goal–but how we get there as a society makes all the difference.
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