Hillary for America – Focus on re-tooling and expanding the ACA
Hillary Clinton has a long track record of advocating for Universal Health Care, the CHIP program and bringing expanded care to rural areas. The ACA undeniably has brought these things to the majority of the American people, especially with the expanded Medicaid program. However, it is no secret that the ACA does have a number of issues that need to be addressed for it to be both sustainable and deliver quality affordable health care to Americans. Democratic nominee, Hillary Clinton has made a pledge to patch a few of the holes in the ACA, while expanding on its principles.[i]
Hillary’s health care proposal reads more like a resume, then a reform piece. As tenured as she is, for better or worse, there is a long list of health care transformations that she has been involved with. As first lady, she was instrumental in lobbying for the creation of the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). This program provides medical insurance for kids, whose families don’t qualify for medical assistance (non-Medicaid eligible) and cannot afford private health plans. Her hopes are to continue expanding access to affordable health care to families. Here are her main reforms:
· Fix the “family glitch” – an glaring hole in the ACA where family members are prohibited from qualifying for tax credits if they are offered coverage by an employer
· Support new incentives to encourage all states to expand Medicaid – currently, there are 19 that have not adopted the expansion[ii]
· Slow the rise of prescription drugs, copays and out-of-pocket maximums
Mrs. Clinton has always been consistent with her stance on woman’s reproductive health care – access to emergency contraception, preventive care and legal abortion. She has always remained true to Arkansas roots, by making sure that rural Americans have access to quality, affordable health care by federally funding rural health clinics and streamlining licensing for telemedicine.
She has made it clear she intends to furiously defend the Affordable Care Act against any opposition.
In summary, the Hillary Care model is not much different than what is currently in place (albeit there has been discussion of bringing down the Medicare age to 55, offering a state run plan). A few of the glaring consumer holes are addressed, but no real effort is put forth in describing how escalating premiums and out-of-pocket maximums are going to be curbed. Expanding Medicaid into the 19 remaining states will no doubt bring down the uninsured rate significantly, making health care much more “Universal.” It goes almost without saying that the ACA, as it stands, is not a sustainable model and with escalating premiums, more and more healthy folks will no doubt be forced to drop out, further pushing carriers out of the individual market. It’ll be interesting to watch in the upcoming months if she elaborates on her plans to get the insurance carriers out of the red, while simultaneously stabilizing soaring premium costs.