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Hillary Clinton referred to the Affordable Care Act, or "Obamacare", as "one of the greatest accomplishments of President Obama, of the Democratic Party and of our country". It is hardly a surprise that she is not in favor of repealing it. She has, however, announced plans to expand and improve the Affordable Care Act.
She said, on September 21 2015:
"As your president, I want to build on the progress we’ve made. I’ll do more to bring down health care costs for families, ease burdens on small businesses, and make sure consumers have the choices they deserve. And frankly, it is finally time for us to deal with the skyrocketing out-of-pocket health costs, and particularly runaway prescription drug prices."
Concretely, Clinton has said to plan an expansion of Medicare, covering America's poorest and neediest citizens, to the 19 states that are currently still rejecting it. She also believes that those people over the age of 55 should have the choice of buying into the Medicaid program.
The rest of Clinton's policy statements also, at first sight at least, sound like they'd bring relief to you if you are a low-income person, as she has made it clear that she supports:
- "American families are being squeezed by rising out-of-pocket health care costs," Clinton says, and as such she supports a reduction in copays and deductibles.
- "Lower drug costs for hardworking families and seniors," in other words a reduction in the cost of prescription medications for many people. In part, she says, this could be achieved by increasing competition among pharmaceutical companies by widening the choice of generic drug options and by penalizing drug companies for "unjustified price increases".
- The expansion of healthcare services to rural areas.
Clinton is also in favor of making healthcare access available to illegal immigrants by giving them to option to "buy health insurance on the health exchanges regardless of their immigration status". Both are opinions that will continue to draw opposition from among Republicans.
Clinton does not go as far as her former opponent Bernie Sanders, who called for a single-payer national health system similar to those seen in Europe and Canada, however, and it is currently unclear whether she would be able to change the minds of the 49 percent of US adults who now view Obamacare in a negative light. Clinton's healthcare plan would increase the number of insured people by an estimated 9.6 million (Source: Rand Corp) while also adding $90.4 billion to the national deficit — something that is bound to make her policies controversial.