Employee Benefits

3 Health Care Issues Debated by Presidential Candidates

united states

As the 2016 presidential election unfolds, Americans are becoming more interested in the candidates’ positions on key issues. A primary concern is national security, especially with increased incidents of global terrorism and conflicts between countries. A close second is the future of America’s health care system, such as these three issues:

  1. Reform or repeal – The Wall Street Journal reports that as long as a Democrat is in the White House, the Affordable Care Act isn’t going away. However, Republican presidential candidates are discussing ways to repeal it. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce recommends retaining the ACA because significant time and money already have been invested in developing it. The Chamber recommends that candidates should focus on creating solutions to improve the health care system, such as eliminating taxes on health insurers, medical device companies and high-value insurance plans (Cadillac tax).
  1. Health care delivery – At this point in the presidential election process, few Americans have asked candidates for specific details about the future of the ACA. However, there are several ideas under discussion on the campaign trail.
  • Democrat candidates are exploring ideas to build upon reform, such as:
    • Limiting the amount that people with insurance pay for health care procedures.
    • Extending health care coverage to unauthorized immigrants.
    • Developing a single government-run health program that covers all Americans.
  • Republican candidates have suggested new directions, such as:
    • Reducing federal health care regulations and leaving decisions to states.
    • Creating new tax credits to help Americans purchase insurance coverage.
    • Allowing people to contribute more to their Health Savings Accounts.
    • Exploring different ways to provide coverage for people with pre-existing conditions, or to those who cannot afford insurance.
  1. Financial support – When the ACA was developed, government leaders planned implementation of a Cadillac tax in 2018 to support growth of the Federal Exchange programs. In December 2015, the tax was delayed for two years (until 2020). Since the tax was projected to create $87 billion in revenue, candidates are discussing new funding sources. Some political experts believe the tax is important to control health care spending. Others speculate the tax delay could provide new incentives for ACA reform.

Sources:
The Wall Street Journal
Ballotpedia
The Business Journals
California Healthline

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