Taking a look at candidate stances on healthcare

Posted at 12:30 PM, Nov 04, 2016

There are some big issues with severe differences in this year's election - and healthcare is one that is gaining a lot of attention and controversy.

So what does each candidate after to say about the current state of our healthcare system (the Affordable Care Act), and how do they plan to grow or change it?

Hillary Clinton is the only candidate in support of the ACA. She agrees with the current system's goals to make healthcare affordable and available in every state across the country.

Donald Trump, on the other hand, wants to repeal the ACA in its entirety. Trump says he wants to make insurance more affordable by lowering prices via free-market insurance sales and allow companies to sell insurance across state lines.

Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson also wants to repeal the ACA and is in favor of free-market insurance sales, while Green Party candidate Jill Stein would replace the ACA with universal Medicare.

"Medicare probably could not support the whole country, because the Medicare benefits are largely tailored to the needs of the people over the age of 65," says President and CEO of Independent Health, Michael Cropp.

One of the biggest issues surrounding healthcare is drug costs. According to the CDC, more than 13% of all health insurance costs goes directly to drug costs - and that number is quickly climbing.

Part of Clinton's plan is to require drug companies to sell products at lower, fixed rates to children and the elderly. But according to Dr. Nancy Nielsen, Former President of the American Medical Association and current Senior Associate Dean for Health Policy at the Jacob's School of Medicine at the University at Buffalo, negotiating prices is illegal.

"That is what Congress, right now, forbids Medicare to do, and that is a change we ought to make," said Nielsen.

According to Trump's plan, he would make it easier for new and generic versions of drugs to be approved, encouraging competition in drug sales and lowering prices. Cropp says the costs for brand name drugs has risen dramatically. According to him, the use of generic medications has been a huge improvement, but even more ideally would be a competitive market controlling prices.

"Both candidates are in favor of lowering drug prices," says Nielsen. "The one thing that I could find that was common between the two of them is they both believe that safe drugs should be allowed to be imported from other countries, as long as the safety profile was acceptable."

Johnson, on the other hand, would eliminate price-regulation on drugs completely.

Overall, candidates seem to agree that healthcare needs to be readily available and affordable for all Americans, and the experts agree.

"Getting to a point where all Americans are covered should be a goal for us, but we have to go passed that," said Cropp. "We have to figure out how we can make sure people are not only covered, but they have access, timely access, to the care that they need when they need it, as well."