Presidential Candidates’ Stances on Healthcare

Clinton on healthcare

SUMMARY: Clinton supports permitting individuals to voluntarily pay to join Medicare and receive health coverage at age 55.

She says the failure of healthcare reform in the early 1990s is her biggest political regret.

Clinton favors increased funding for autism and Alzheimer’s research and treatment.

Under Clinton’s affordable healthcare and prescription drug plan, a patient could visit a doctor three times without it counting toward their annual deductible, families ineligible for Medicare could receive a tax credit for out-of-pocket healthcare expenses, prescription drugs for patients with chronic or serious health conditions would be capped at $250 per month, and prescription drug imports from Canada would be legal.

  • Clinton announced a mental health plan on her campaign website on August 29, 2016. A statement from Clinton’s campaign reads, “Recognizing that nearly a fifth of all adults in the United States — more than 40 million people — are coping with a mental health problem, Hillary’s plan will integrate our mental and physical health care systems. Her goal is that within her time in office, Americans will no longer separate mental health from physical health when it comes to access to care or quality of treatment. Hillary has been talking about mental health policy throughout her campaign, since hearing directly from American parents, students, veterans, nurses, and police officers about how these challenges keep them up at night.” (
  • In a statement on August 24, 2016, Clinton called on the pharmaceutical company Mylan, which makes EpiPens, to reduce their product’s cost after reports surfaced that the price of EpiPens had increased by 400 percent in recent years. “That’s outrageous — and it’s just the latest troubling example of a company taking advantage of its consumers. I believe that our pharmaceutical and biotech industries can be an incredible source of American innovation, giving us revolutionary treatments for debilitating diseases. But it’s wrong when drug companies put profits ahead of patients, raising prices without justifying the value behind them,” said Clinton. (
  • At the Borinquen Medical Center in Miami, on August 9, 2016, Clinton called on members of Congress to return from recess and to pass funding to fight the spread of the Zika virus. Florida Gov. Rick Scott announced shortly before Clinton’s remarks that the 21st case of “locally transmitted Zika” had been confirmed in South Florida. Clinton said, “I am very disappointed that the Congress went on recess before actually agreeing on what they would do to put the resources into this fight, and I really am hoping that they will pay attention. In fact, I would very much urge the leadership of Congress to call people back for a special session and get a bill passed.” (
  • Clinton announced in a statement on July 9, 2016, a few changes to her healthcare platform, including offering a public-option insurance plan and allowing Americans to enroll in Medicare when they turn 55. According to the statement, Clinton affirmed “her commitment to give Americans in every state the choice of a public-option insurance plan, something she has supported during this campaign and going back to her 2008 presidential campaign.” (
  • Clinton was asked on June 5, 2016, if she still supported a 25 percent sales tax on guns, as she had during a Senate Finance Committee hearing in 1993. She said she was “not going to commit to any specific proposal” and clarified that her position was motivated then by how the U.S. could create more revenue. “What I was saying back then was that we have a lot of public health costs that taxpayers end up paying for through Medicaid, Medicare, through uncompensated care, because that was in the context of the push for healthcare reform and that we needed some way to try to defray those costs,” she said. (
  • On May 10, 2016, Hillary Clinton proposed allowing Americans to buy into Medicare before the age of 65, the current age to receive healthcare coverage under the program. Clinton said, “I’m also in favor of what’s called the public option, so that people can buy into Medicare at a certain age.” She added that “‘people 55 or 50 and up,’ could voluntarily pay to join the program.” (
  • When asked about her greatest political regret on January 27, 2016, Clinton identified failing to pass healthcare reform in the early 1990s. She told, “Health care is a basic right. We are 90 percent covered, we gotta get to 100 percent, and then we gotta get cost down and make it work for everybody. And even though we didn’t get it then, we’ve got it now and I’m going to defend it and improve it.” (
  • Clinton unveiled a plan on January 5, 2016, to expand autism insurance and access to early screening. She would also seek to establish the Autism Works Initiative to increase the number of employed people with autism and to launch “the first-ever adult autism prevalence study.” (
  • During a campaign event in New Hampshire on December 29, 2015, Clinton “said she wants to spend $2 billion on treating and preventing Alzheimer’s disease,” according to (
  • Clinton announced her plan to combat Alzheimer’s disease on December 22, 2015, which included an investment of $2 billion per year in research to find a cure by 2025. (
  • On October 21, 2015, Clinton said she had “serious concerns” about Aetna’s planned acquisition of Humana and other mergers between health insurers. “As we see more consolidation in health care, among both providers and insurers, I’m worried that the balance of power is moving too far away from consumers,” Clinton said. (
  • In an October 19, 2015, letter to the Food and Drug Administration, Clinton encouraged the agency to expedite review of Turing Pharmaceuticals for “artificially” increasing the price of a drug from $13.50 to $750. She also sent a letter to the Federal Trade Commission, writing that although she knows the agency has “limited authority to address price gouging when it is the result of unilateral action in a market with no competition,” it should examine the issue across the pharmaceutical industry. (
  • On September 29, 2015, Clinton appealed to Congress to repeal the Cadillac tax, an excise tax on high-cost employer-based healthcare plans. “Too many Americans are struggling to meet the cost of rising deductibles and drug prices. That’s why, among other steps, I encourage Congress to repeal the so-called Cadillac tax, which applies to some employer-based health plans, and to fully pay for the cost of repeal,” said Clinton. (
  • In a Facebook question-and-answer session on September 28, 2015, Clinton said she supported requiring pharmaceutical companies to invest in the research and development of generic drugs. (
  • Clinton released her affordable healthcare and prescription drug platform on September 23, 2015. Under her plan, a patient could visit a doctor three times without it counting toward their annual deductible and families ineligible for Medicare could receive up to a $5,000 tax credit for out-of-pocket healthcare expenses. She would also impose a $250 monthly cap on prescription drugs for patients with chronic or serious health conditions. Additionally, her plan would legalize prescription drug imports from Canada. “If the medicine you need costs less in Canada, you should be able to buy it from Canada — or any other country that meets our safety standards,” she said. (
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  • Turing Pharmaceuticals increased the price on Daraprim by 5,000 percent from $13.50 to $700 per tablet in August 2015, but due to public backlash, promised on September 22, 2015, to scale back its price increase. Clinton tweeted, “Good that Turing will lower an essential drug’s price. Hillary’s plan would prevent price gouging in the first place.” (
  • According to the Huffington Post, in March 2014 Clinton said “she supports Obamacare, and opposes single-payer health insurance.” (
  • According to a February 2014 report titled The Hillary Papers, Diane Blair, a political science professor and friend of Clinton’s, “wrote that Hillary Clinton vouched for a single payer health-care system during a family dinner in 1993.” (
  • In a 2004 op-ed, Clinton wrote, “As Senator John Kerry has proposed, we should cover everyone living in poverty, and all children; allow people to buy into the federal employee health benefits program; and also help employers by reinsuring high-cost claims while assuming more of the costs from hard-pressed state and local governments.” (
  • Hillary Clinton was a chief proponent of Bill Clinton’s Health Security Act, which proposed “to reform the health care system so that all Americans are guaranteed comprehensive health coverage.” (
  • Clinton was instrumental in the passage of the State Children’s Health Insurance Program, which provides matching funds to states to provide health insurance to children in low-income families. (

Trump on healthcare

SUMMARY: Donald Trump has a healthcare reform plan based on “free market principles.”

He said he will repeal Obamacare, reduce barriers to the interstate sale of health insurance, institute a full tax deduction for insurance premium payments for individuals, make Health Saving Accounts inheritable, require price transparency, block-grant Medicaid to the states, and allow for more overseas drug providers through lowered regulatory barriers.


  • In an interview on September 15, 2016, Trump said that birth control “should not be done by prescription.” He said, “I think what we have in birth control is, you know, when you have to get a prescription, that’s a pretty tough something to climb. And I would say it should not be a prescription, it should not be done by prescription. … you have women that just aren’t able to go get a prescription. So and more and more people are coming out and saying that, but I am not in favor of prescription for birth control.” (
  • On March 2, 2016, Trump released a seven-point plan for healthcare reform, which he described as based on “free market principles.” He stated that he would repeal Obamacare, reduce barriers to the interstate sale of health insurance, institute a full tax deduction for insurance premium payments for individuals, make Health Saving Accounts inheritable, require price transparency, block-grant Medicaid to the states, and allow for more overseas drug providers through lowered regulatory barriers. Trump added that enforcing immigration laws could reduce healthcare costs. (
  • At the eighth Republican presidential primary debate on February 6, 2016, Donald Trump discussed his position on healthcare, and whether it is closer to Hillary Clinton’s or Bernie Sanders’: “I think I’m closer to common sense. We are going to repeal Obamacare. … We are going to replace Obamacare with something so much better. And there are so many examples of it. And I will tell you, part of the reason we have some people laughing, because you have insurance people that take care of everybody up here. I am self-funded. The only one they’re not taking care of is me. We have our lines around each state. The insurance companies are getting rich on Obamacare. The insurance companies are getting rich on health care and health services and everything having to do with health. We are going to end that. We’re going to take out the artificial boundaries, the artificial lines. We’re going to get a plan where people compete, free enterprise. They compete. So much better. In addition to that, you have the health care savings plans, which are excellent. What I do say is, there will be a certain number of people that will be on the street dying and as a Republican, I don’t want that to happen. We’re going to take care of people that are dying on the street because there will be a group of people that are not going to be able to even think in terms of private or anything else and we’re going to take care of those people. And I think everybody on this stage would have to agree, you’re not going to let people die, sitting in the middle of a street in any city in this country.” (
  • Trump suggested that he supported universal healthcare on September 27, 2015. “I am going to take care of everybody. I don’t care if it costs me votes or not. Everybody’s going to be taken care of much better than they’re taken care of now,” he said. (
  • In a July 2015 Forbes interview on how Trump would replace Obamacare, a Trump spokesperson said, “Mr. Trump will be proposing a health plan that will return authority to the states and operate under free market principles. Mr. Trump’s plan will provide choice to the buyer, provide individual tax relief for health insurance and keep plans portable and affordable. The plan will break the health insurance company monopolies and allow individuals to buy across state lines.”
  • Trump spoke at the Iowa Freedom Summit in January 2015 where he said, “Someone has to repeal and replace Obamacare.” Explaining his position, Trump said, “[Obamacare is] a total catastrophe. It kicks in in 2016 and it will be a disaster. People are closing shops. Doctors are quitting the business. I have a friend who was a doctor and he says he has more accountants than patients. He needs that because it is complicated and terrible.” (
  • In September 2013, Trump called Obamacare “a total disaster” and stated it “will shut down this country.” (
  • As an alternative to Obamacare, Trump recommended in 2011 allowing people to “purchase health-care plans across state lines” because “[c]ompetition makes everything better and more affordable.” (
  • In his 2000 book, The America We Deserve, Trump wrote, “We must have universal health care.” He suggested that this initiative be modeled after the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program, saying, “Our objective [should be] to make reforms for the moment and, longer term, to find an equivalent of the single-payer plan that is affordable, well-administered, and provides freedom of choice. Possible? The good news is, yes. There is already a system in place-the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program-that can act as a guide for all healthcare reform. It operates through a centralized agency that offers considerable range of choice. While this is a government program, it is also very much market-based.”