Affordable Care Act
The 2016 Presidential Election and the Future of Obamacare
Updated on October 21, 2019
The presidential election season is coming to an end, and we’ve heard the candidates address a host of topics in the past months.
However, many of our readers may still have questions about the candidate’s proposals for the future of the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) and the costs associated with health insurance and medical care.
In this article, we’ll review the positions and proposals of Donald Trump and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on the Affordable Care Act, prescription drug costs, and reproductive health issues, as reported by the Kaiser Family Foundation and other sources.
On the future of the Affordable Care Act
Signed into law by President Obamacare in March 2010, the Affordable Care Act (the health reform law more commonly known as Obamacare) has had some ups and downs – and public opinion is still split over the law. According to the federal government, more than 11 million Americans have enrolled in marketplace plans since 2014, but millions are still uninsured and the cost of coverage is a concern for many.
- Donald Trump supports the total repeal of the Affordable Care Act. Under Trump’s plan, there would be no “individual mandate” requiring most people to have health insurance or face a potential tax penalty. Trump supports the creation of state-based high-risk pools for people who are unable to maintain coverage on their own or through employers and would allow health insurance plans to be sold across state lines. He also supports the broader use of Health Savings Accounts. In lieu of the government subsidies that currently make coverage more affordable for qualifying consumers, Trump would support new tax credits for the purchase of individual or family health insurance.
- Hillary Clinton would keep the Affordable Care Act in place but believes it should be improved. She supports more robust government subsidies and the introduction of a “public option” health plan in each state to compete with insurance companies. Clinton’s proposals would allow persons age 55 and older to buy into Medicare early. She would make changes to coverage standards, allowing persons to make three sick visits to the doctor each year without incurring out-of-pocket costs related to their annual deductible; she would also limit out-of-pocket costs for prescription drugs to no more than $250 per month. Clinton supports making certain medical expenses (including monthly health insurance premiums in some cases) tax deductible.
On the burden of prescription drug costs
The cost of prescription drugs is a big concern for many Americans – even those with health insurance. As demonstrated by a 2015 report by eHealth, personal spending on prescription drugs is a strong predictor of a person’s satisfaction with his or her health insurance plan: persons who spend more than $1,000 or more per year on prescriptions are 30% less likely to be satisfied with their coverage.
- Donald Trump supports allowing prescription drugs to be imported into the United States from countries where the cost of these prescription drugs is significantly lower and where safety protocols are in place.
- Hillary Clinton proposes taking steps to increase the availability of generic drugs in the market and would increase regulatory oversight of generic drug pricing. She would allow certain drugs to be imported from countries with high safety standards to increase market competition in the United States and she would take steps to discourage or potentially restrict pharmaceutical companies from marketing prescription drugs directly to consumers. As mentioned above, Clinton would also limit out-of-pocket costs for prescription drugs to no more than $250 per month.
On the availability of reproductive health care and Roe v. Wade
Access to legal abortion has been a flashpoint of controversy in the United States since the Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision in 1973. Federal funding for Planned Parenthood and Obamacare’s requirement that most health insurance plans cover contraception at no out-of-pocket cost have also been in the news in the past four years.
- Donald Trump supports the complete repeal of the Affordable Care Act which would presumably include the repeal of the requirement for most health insurance plans to provide cost-free access to contraceptives. Trump supports the defunding of Planned Parenthood if the organization continues to perform abortions. He has stated that he would nominate conservative judges to the Supreme Court who would overturn Roe v. Wade.
- Hillary Clinton supports the reproductive health provisions of the Affordable Care Act, the continued funding of Planned Parenthood, and the Supreme Court’s decision in Roe v. Wade.