Hillary on Health Reform 2.0

-Kevin Kane, Lead Organizer

Hillary is taking a good stance moving into 2016 when it comes to the Affordable Care Act: 

"Hillary Clinton says she will propose fixes for ObamaCare over the course of her presidential campaign, while strongly defending the law as a whole."

This is a strong position to take, as a higher percent of the public is now saying they want to improve the law compared to leaving it the way it is or scaling it back. And it both recognizes the laws significant strengths and fixable shortcomings.

 

For all the different opinions on Hillary Clinton it's hard to argue she wouldn't be good on healthcare, having the experience of pushing reform in the 90's and creating a reform plan when running for president in 2008.

Clinton in the article pointed to fixing the "family glitch" (a gap some families fall into), the high costs of prescription drugs and high out of pocket costs of many insurance plans. These are all very important but we'd also encourage her and every Presidential candidate to include these additional:

1. Create a Public Option - Just because the final version of the Affordable Care Act didn't include a public option doesn't mean we couldn't pass one moving forward. The Feds could create a public coverage option to compete with insurance companies, or perhaps allow people to "buy-in" to Medicare at any earlier age. Or, the Feds can help states prepare and submit section 1332 "Innovation" waivers which would allow states to create any kind of universal health insurance system that they can design, using federal funding to do it. (As long as it covers more people and costs less than the Affordable Care Act, more here

2. Make Sure Networks Are Clear - people want to make sure they don't find themselves charged for things they didn't expect, and making sure they can get to medical centers that are "in-network". Candidates should push for ensuring what's "in-network" and "out of network" is transparent and doesn't accidentally create unexpected bills, and they should push for plans consumers buy having health providers within a reasonable distance from where they live.

3. Address Excessive Premiums - Out of pocket costs are high and they do deserve attention, but the cost of premiums need attention too. If you earn more than those eligible for a tax credits (more than $47,000 as an individual, more as a family) or if you buy insurance for your employees, it is still far too expensive for you. And while the tax credits help make coverage more affordable for many, high cost states like Wisconsin cost the federal budget more in these tax credits.

People know that costs are too high, that they can be put through the wringer of medical bureaucracy, that states like Wisconsin are not doing everything they can to protect health consumers. These issues are known, and striving to fix it can be a popular position that every Presidential and Congressional candidate should take.

What do you think? What else should presidential candidates speak to on fixing the healthcare system in your eyes? Comment below or send me an email: Kevin.kane@citizenactionwi.org

-Kevin

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