What do you want your health care to be in eight years?
What will your healthcare be like in eight years? Well, many experienced health policy analysts that were off the mark in their predictions about the impact of Obamacare would say that is not such an easy question to answer.
According to Politico journalist Johnathan Gruber, while Obamacare has improved the lives of millions of Americans since coming into effect, there have been numerous unexpected surprises. Medicaid enrollment was projected to grow by 12 million by 2016 when in fact it has grown by 15 million. The CBO projected more than 20 million people would be enrolled in the health insurance exchanges when instead only about 10 million are covered. Employer-sponsored insurance is also much more stable than expected. Finally, despite the notion that many Americans are troubled by rising premiums and out-of-pocket costs, premiums on the exchange in 2014 were about 15 percent below what CBO projected.
So the initial results are in, and Obamacare has not caused the massive decline in our country’s economy like some people predicted, nor has it created a flourishing healthcare system with high cost savings and limited spending. However, despite the fact that the Affordable Care Act is now indeed the law of the land, it does not mean it will stay that way. This past week the candidates for the 2016 presidential election, Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, officially accepted their nominations, and both of them have very different approaches to and views on what the future of American healthcare should look like.
If you have been proximate to any TV, newspaper, social media website, or cell phone in the past six months, chances are you have already formed your opinion on our country’s two nominees. Chances are you have been subjected to the hyperpolarized American media, and you either think Hillary Clinton is a seasoned politician committed to breaking the glass ceiling and fighting for human rights, or you think she is a liar who will mismanage our economy to a state of disaster. Likewise, you either believe Donald Trump is a strong leader and businessman who will bring millions of jobs back to America, or you think he is a seething narcissist who has zero merit nor patience to be the Commander in Chief. (In reality, chances are you likely fall somewhere in the middle, but humor me.) It is also very probable you have no idea who Gary Johnson or Jill Stein are, and it is highly unlikely you could pick either one out of a lineup. (This one is probably true. Hint: he is the third party Libertarian candidate and she is the third party Green Party candidate, both vying for a spot on the debate stage.)
Putting all opinions aside, the lofty goal of this article is to momentarily remove any preconceptions you have about these two individuals (or four if you are particularly politically savvy), and objectively analyze their positions on healthcare reform.
It is important to concede that while I recognize there are many factors that will influence your decision on who to vote for when you cast your ballot in November, I believe it is equally important to take a step back from all the media headlines and hoopla for a moment, and recalibrate your brain to the issues at hand. What are the issues that are important to you? Which policies does Trump support that you agree with? Which policies have Clinton voted for that are in line with your values?
In regards to healthcare, critically ask yourself – What do I want my health care to look like in the next eight years? Do I believe that everyone has a right to universal health care coverage? Do I want my health insurance to be provided by my employer or would I prefer to shop for insurance plans on an open market? Do I think states should expand Medicaid in order to cover more low income individuals and receive more federal dollars, or do I think Medicaid should be awarded as grant money on a state-by-state basis?
While these questions simply serve as a guide to get your thinker thinking, healthcare policy is incredibly complex and the list of questions could be endless. In order to help facilitate your considerations, below is a chart comparing the positions and plans for healthcare reform for Hillary Clinton (D), Donald Trump (R), Gary Johnson (Libertarian), and Jill Stein (Green Party) on a very surface level.
The information has been collected from each of the candidates’ campaign websites and their respective party platforms. Some candidates provide more detailed information than others, which is also reflected in the chart. The information was then categorized into key topics related to health care policy so that it is easier to identify where you agree, where you disagree, or where you do not know yet (and plan to figure out by November 8, 2017)!
Gruber, Johnathan. "Obamacare: What We Didn’t See Coming." POLITICO. July 21, 2016. Accessed July 30, 2016. http://www.politico.com/agenda/story/2016/07/obamacare-what-we-didnt-see-coming-000170.
Lee, Tony. "Trump vs. Clinton on Health Care: Their Differences Are Clear." Society for Human Resource Management. July 19, 2016. Accessed July 30, 2016. https://www.shrm.org/hr-today/news/hr-news/pages/trump-vs.-clinton-on-health-care.aspx.