Most families these days spend more on their health insurance than any other household bill. That’s right, the cost of healthcare has surpassed that of many mortgages. If healthcare issues don’t linger near the top of your voting priorities in the 2016 presidential election, perhaps it’s time they should.
In fairness, however, these issues have become a bit overwhelming and difficult to follow. In a lot of areas it seems that both candidates (Clinton and Trump) are saying the same thing, but I encourage you pay careful attention and look at the subtle differences.
Below I’m going to break down three areas where the candidates speak much of the same language and yet have different conclusions in mind.
1. The Affordable Care Act
Clinton and Trump both want to make changes to the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The ACA is what we typically know as Obamacare but Obamacare is actually only one of many parts of the ACA. But that’s not important for now. All we’re concerned with here is, how is Obamacare changing with each candidate?
Both parties want to do away with the Cadillac Tax. The Cadillac Tax forces employees to spend less than $10,200 in healthcare coverage in 2020. Anything over this amount will be taxed heavily. With household healthcare costs on the immediate rise it isn’t practical to think this could work, and both Clinton and Trump agree.
Where they differ on the ACA is that Clinton wants to keep the ACA intact but tinker with the way prescription drugs are handled (which is a very broad field and Clinton has not been specific), and Trump wants to do away with the ACA but keep the conditions where anyone with a pre-existing condition can obtain healthcare.
While Trump means well in doing away with the ACA, it does not make much sense to maintain the pre-existing condition waiver without the other parts of the ACA, such as the tax penalty for not having coverage. Trump has not offered a logical explanation on how this will work.
It would make more sense to either keep the ACA with the pre-existing conditions, or do away with them both. However, this impacts a lot of families that were able to obtain coverage under the ACA that could not do so pre-ACA.
2. Cost of Coverage
Both Clinton and Trump want to stop bigger insurance companies (known as carriers) from absorbing smaller companies because it creates monopolies and ruins any chance of a fair market. Not a good things for us, the consumer.
Clinton wants to control this through legislation which could be quite effective if she’s able to get it passed in Congress, but establishing new healthcare legislation has proven to be no easy task in past attempts. Trump, on the other hand, wants to increase competition by allowing consumers to purchase coverages beyond their state line. This would hold the in-state companies accountable in continuing to provide the most affordable healthcare despite whose name is on the building.
3. Cost Transparency
If you call a doctor and want to know the cost of a procedure (both total cost and after insurance), they likely won’t tell you. Both Clinton and Trump want see cost transparency in healthcare. Just like you can compare the cost of organic pop-tarts between grocery stores, you should be able to compare the cost of a primary care visit between doctors.
This sounds good in theory but as long as people remain on managed care health plans (paying copays), it is unlikely they will care enough about what the insurer is paying when price shopping. In fact, it could have the reverse effect where people will pick the most expensive doctors because they feel like they will get better care for the same copay cost.
So far Clinton doesn’t have answer for this but Trump is pushing incentives to go on plans such as Health Care Savings Accounts (HSAs) that would motivate insureds to be accountable for the price of visits and procedures.
Healthcare policy is a tricky issue, no doubt, and the ambiguous comments we’ve received from the candidates hasn’t made it any easier to understand. However, when we take the time to analyze Clinton and Trump’s policies we begin to put the puzzle together and come up with these very obvious differences between the two of them.