Medi­care ex­pected to come up in fi­nal pres­i­den­tial de­bate

Modern Healthcare - - THE WEEK AHEAD - —Maria Castel­lucci

The third and fi­nal pres­i­den­tial de­bate this week may in­clude a dis­cus­sion on Medi­care.

Mod­er­a­tor Chris Wal­lace from Fox News is ex­pected to ask the pres­i­den­tial nom­i­nees about the pro­gram.

Demo­cratic nom­i­nee Hil­lary Clin­ton has pro­posed al­low­ing peo­ple 55 and older to buy into Medi­care in an ef­fort to ad­dress af­ford­abil­ity of health in­sur­ance. Repub­li­can nom­i­nee Don­ald Trump has said he would not touch Medi­care. He has also im­plied that he doesn’t sup­port the con­gres­sional Repub­li­cans’ plan to trans­form Medi­care to a so­called pre­mium-sup­port pro­gram. That would en­tail the gov­ern­ment mak­ing fixed per-capita con­tri­bu­tions into the pro­gram. Ben­e­fi­cia­ries would use those pay­ments to get their care from ei­ther tra­di­tional Medi­care or pri­vate plans.

If Medi­care is brought up, it would be the sec­ond time Wal­lace and Trump have gone head-to-head on the is­sue. In a de­bate dur­ing the GOP pri­maries, Wal­lace said Trump’s pro­posal to let Medi­care ne­go­ti­ate Part D drug prices didn’t add up to the es­ti­mated $300 bil­lion in sav­ings. Trump ar­gued that it would, be­cause he would ne­go­ti­ate bet­ter prices. Other top­ics slated for the Oct. 19 de­bate in Las Ve­gas in­clude the na­tional debt, im­mi­gra­tion, the econ­omy, the Supreme Court, for­eign pol­icy and the can­di­dates’ health, which has been scru­ti­nized by me­dia and vot­ers. Last month, Clin­ton suf­fered from pneu­mo­nia, and Trump was de­ter­mined to be over­weight.

If elected, Trump, 70, would be the old­est pres­i­dent to as­sume of­fice; Clin­ton, 68, would be the sec­ond-old­est, be­hind Ron­ald Rea­gan.

Clin­ton pro­poses al­low­ing those 55 and older to buy into Medi­care, while Trump says he wouldn’t change the pro­gram.

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