Q24: Do you have a plan to protect and ensure the coverage for nearly 22 million people who now have access to health care through the Affordable Care Act and extend the program to millions of others who are not yet covered?
Clinton: “Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, more than 16 million Americans have gained new coverage. The reduction in the uninsured rate across the country has been staggering, down to roughly 12% for adults. These statistics translate into real change in people’s lives. Families who no longer have to face the threat of bankruptcy because of catastrophic health care costs. Parents who now have health care when only their children were covered before. Women can no longer be charged higher rates solely because of their gender. People with preexisting conditions can no longer be denied
coverage. Americans can make the leap of changing jobs or starting a business without worrying about whether they’ll still be able to buy insurance—because now they know they can purchase it on the marketplace. So this is a real accomplishment we should be proud of.
As with any piece of major legislation, we need to build on the ACA’s success and continue improving it—just as we did after we passed Social Security and Medicare. We also need to take steps beyond the ACA. We should crack down on the drug companies that charge too much and the insurance companies that offer too little. And we need to tackle rising out-of-pocket health care costs for consumers across the board.
That’s why I announced a plan to hold the pharmaceutical industry accountable and rein in drug costs for American families. My plan will demand a stop to excessive profiteering and marketing by denying tax breaks for direct-to-consumer advertising and demanding that drug companies invest in R&D in exchange for taxpayer support—rather than marketing or excessive profits. My plan will encourage competition to get more generics on the market and create a federal backstop for when there are excessively high-priced drugs that face no competition. And for Americans struggling with prescription drug cost burdens, I will cap what insurers can charge consumers in out-of-pocket costs, putting money back in the family wallet.”
Sanders: Yes. “Despite the gains of the Affordable Care Act, 29 million Americans have no health insurance and million more are under-insured. In my view, the U.S. needs to join the rest of the industrialized world and guarantee health care to every man, woman, and child in this country.
“As president, I would fight for a Medicare for All, single-payer health care plan to ensure that all Americans have access to health care. We are the only major country on earth that does not guarantee health care to all people as a right, yet we spend much more money on health care compared to most industrial countries. Under my health care plan, Medicare would also have the opportunity to negotiate with pharmaceutical companies to lower the prices of prescription drugs.
“Health care is a right, not a privilege that only the wealthy can afford.”
Bush: Entitlements addressed only.
Carson: “In spite of two years of promises, Americans are overwhelmingly disappointed in Obamacare. The costs are high and access is low. Obamacare needs to be replaced with a real Affordable Care Act that values the relationship between the patient and health care provider, like doctors and nurses, over the insurance companies and the federal government. “A Carson Administration would provide Health Savings Accounts – returning control over health care back to the American people.”
Q25: If elected President, do you have a plan to address critical health disparities impacting Black women—including high infant & maternal mortality, HIV/AIDS, diabetes, breast cancer?
Clinton: “Disparities that black women and child face in our healthcare system are staggering and unacceptable. For example, even though the rate of breast cancer incidence is nearly 10 percent for lower for African American women, they are 40 percent more likely to die from the disease. And according the CDC, the infant mortality rate for non-Hispanic black women was more than double that for non-Hispanic white women in 2010.
“I have made addressing health care disparities – particularly among children and people of color – a defining fight in my career. For example, as First Lady, I helped create the Children Health Insurance Program (Chip) and as Senator, I pushed t strengthen CHIP and to increase coverage for children in low income and working families. Combined with Medicaid, CHIP covers nearly 60 of black children. As Secretary of State, I helped to launch the Global Health Initiative to increase our investments in maternal health, immunizations, and the fight against HIV and Aids around the world. As president, I will continue to fight by defending and enhancing the Affordable Care Act, continuing the push for the expansion of Medicaid and other efforts.”
Sanders: Yes. “It is unacceptable that African Americans suffer from severe illnesses and mortality at much higher rates than white Americans. One way to address this problem is through the expansion of community health centers that provide high quality primary health care to all Americans, regardless of income. As part of the Affordable Care Act, I worked with Rep. James Clyburn (D-SC) to provide $11 billion in funding to expand community health centers to more than over 5 million Americans. One out of every four patients at these centers are African Americans. As president, I would expand this vital program even further.
“According to the latest statistics, a much larger percentage of African American adults aged 18-64 years were without health insurance compared with white Americans. That is why I will fight to guarantee health care to every man, woman, and child as a right, not a privilege, through a Medicare for All single payer health care system.
“In addition, I strongly believe that we need to do everything that we can to substantially reduce poverty in America which is disproportionately impacting African Americans. There is something profoundly wrong in this country when nearly 40 percent of African American children are living in poverty.
“As the former Chairman of the Primary Health Care and Aging Subcommittee, we released a report last year entitled “Poverty is a Death Sentence.” Among the findings in this report was that the mortality rate for African American infants was over twice that of white infants. That is something we have got to change.
“As president, reducing poverty will be one of my top priorities. This means that we have got to raise the minimum wage, create 13 million jobs rebuilding our crumbling infrastructure, expand Social Security, enact a universal childcare and pre-K program, ensure pay equity for women, make public colleges and universities tuition free, create at least 1 million jobs for young Americans, guarantee at least 12 weeks of paid family and medical leave, and strengthen overtime protections for millions of workers, among many other things.”
Carson: “I believe in a nation with our vast healthcare resources, we have the capacity and we simply need to structure our national will to make basic health care accessible.”
Q26: Will your Administration support women’s full reproductive and bodily autonomy including full access to legal, safe and affordable abortion and contraceptives?
Clinton: “I believe that our commitment to reproductive choice is rooted in our fundamental values. Roe v. Wade is a landmark decision, which must be upheld. Politicians should not interfere with personal medical decisions, which should be left to a woman, her family and her faith, in consultation with her doctor or health care provider.
Throughout my career – from First Lady to Senator to Secretary of State – I have continuously championed increasing access to reproductive health care for all women, including at every income level. I have fought to increase funding for Title X, expand health care coverage for low-income pregnant women, expand Medicaid family planning services, ensure that health insurance plans cover contraception, and make emergency contraception available over the counter. I will remain a champion for programs to increase access to family planning. And I oppose efforts, such as the Hyde amendment, that limit critical reproductive health services for low-income women.”
Sanders: Yes. “Abortion must remain a decision between a woman and her doctor. I am proud that I have a 100 percent pro-choice rating with NARAL and I have a long history of supporting women’s reproductive rights. As President, I would not allow Republicans to defund Planned Parenthood. Instead, I would work to expand it and the vital work in provides in our communities.
“Every woman deserves full access to birth control. The troubling decision in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby gave corporations undue influence over women’s health care choices. As President, I believe we can fix this attack on women’s health through the adoption of a single payer health care system. A single payer system would have the added benefit of removing a corporation’s ability to impact a women’s reproductive choices. With a healthcare system unconnected to one’s employment and employer, contraceptive decisions would return to their proper place: between a woman and her doctor.”
Carson: “The goal of a Carson Administration would be accessible quality healthcare for all Americans. Access to quality healthcare should not extend to ending the life of the unborn.”