Clinton running as ACA fixer
Hillary Clinton has been deeply involved in health policy since she led the Clinton administration’s unsuccessful healthcare reform initiative in the mid1990s. But as a Democratic presidential candidate, she wants to serve as reform repair woman rather than architect, promising to fix the “glitches” in the Affordable Care Act to improve access and affordability.
She’s also proposing to help Americans with prescription-drug and in-home care costs and expand funding for Alzheimer’s disease research with the goal of finding a cure by 2025. And she wants the government to take steps to curb spiraling drug costs, including letting Medicare negotiate prices with drug manufacturers.
But she’s likely to get lots of questions from both her Democratic and Republican opponents about how she intends to pay for those programs, some of which are structured as refundable tax credits.
“She’s ducking on the cost of tax expenditures, other than vague language about making rich people pay for it,” said Lawrence Jacobs, who studies healthcare politics at the University of Minnesota. “Hillary won’t go into details on how she’ll pay for the programs and improvements because she doesn’t want to be painted as a tax-and-spend Democrat.”
Clinton will promote “bite-size” fixes in the ACA and try to avoid bigger ideological fights over healthcare, Jacobs said. On the other hand, he predicted that she will attack GOP presidential candidates and House Speaker Paul Ryan over their proposals to convert Medicare into a voucher-like defined contribution program. “Hillary will use the Medicare changes Ryan clearly has staked out as a way to mobilize seniors,” he said, pulling out “the old playbook that Republicans can’t be trusted” on seniors’ issues.
Hillary Clinton Position Democratic presidential candidate Previous position U.S. secretary of state