Healthcare (finally) takes center stage for 2016 Republican candidates

February 27, 2016

The 2016 Republican presidential candidates have finally given voters a better glimpse of how they would handle healthcare if elected.

The 2016 Republican presidential candidates have finally given voters a better glimpse of how they would handle healthcare if elected.

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During Thursday night’s debate, the five remaining candidates were pressed to go more in depth on their healthcare plans and how exactly they would handle the Affordable Care Act (ACA). While several of the candidates laid out more specifics than they previously had, others remained tight lipped.

Kasich

When asked his stance on the ACA, Gov. John Kasich focused his attention on the effect it has had on physicians.

“We are actually going to make payments to physicians and to hospitals that actually deliver healthcare with great quality at low prices,” he said. “We actually are going to make the market work.”

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Citing the work he has done in Ohio, Kasich said that his plan would give financial reward to physicians and hospitals that fall below the midpoint and provide services that result in high quality for patients at a lower price.

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“Our primary care physicians need help. They need support. We’re losing them. This will allow them to get a reward for doing a great job,” he said. “We will begin payments next year based on episodes that we have in our lives. If our primary care physicians keep us healthy for a year, with really high quality, guess what? They will get a financial reward.”

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Further, Kasich said he would also take some federal resources, combine it with the “freed-up” Medicare program, send it back to the states and then cover those who are “currently the working poor because we don’t want to have tens of millions of Americans losing their health insurance” once he repeals the ACA.

This plan would then create complete transparency, he said, which would make healthcare much more affordable for everyone.

“If any of you here ever get a hospital bill, it’s easier to interpret the Dead Sea scrolls than to understand your hospital bill,” Kasich commented. “The fact is what we need is transparency with hospitals and with the providers.”

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(This) is the way in which we are going to damp down the rising costs of healthcare. Because if you think about your own deductibles today, they’re going higher, higher and higher. And you know what? At some point, people can’t afford it. Our plan will work. It uses the market. It uses transparency. It gets the patient in the middle.”

Next: Rubio's stance

 

Rubio

Repealing the ACA and replacing it with a system that would put Americans in charge of their healthcare money would be at the top of Senator Marco Rubio’s list if he were elected president, he said at the debate.

That system, he explained would encourage employers to “want to buy health insurance for you, (so) they can continue to do so from any company in American they want to buy it from.”

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“Otherwise, your employers can provide you health care money, tax- free, not treated as income, and you can use that money only for healthcare, but you can use it to fund healthcare any way you want, fully fund a health savings account, the combination of a health savings account or a private plan from any company in any state in the country,” he added.

For Americans who do not have those options, Rubio said a refundable tax credit that provides money to buy personal healthcare coverage would be available.

“And that, I think, is a much better approach than Obamacare, which, by the way, isn’t just bad for healthcare, it’s bad for our economy,” he said. “It is a health care law that is basically forcing companies to lay people off, cut people’s hours, move people to part-time. It is not just a bad health care law, it is a job-killing law.”

Next: Trump and Carson chime in

 

Trump

While Donald Trump said he would repeal the ACA, but keep coverage for those with preexisting conditions, he did not offer much more detail of his healthcare plan, despite Senator Ted Cruz pushing for more information.

Trump did, however, say he would get rid of the “barriers between states” that inhibit competition.

“So, instead of having one insurance company taking care of New York, or Texas, you’ll have many,” he said. “They’ll compete, and it’ll be a beautiful thing.”

Carson

Health savings accounts were at the top of the list for Dr. Ben Carson when asked about healthcare.

Next: Cruz makes a statement

 

“I propose a system in which we use health empowerment accounts, which are like a health savings account with no bureaucrats. And we give it to everybody from birth until death. They can pass it on when they die,” he explained. “We pay for it with the same dollars that we pay for traditional healthcare with. We give people the ability to shift money within their health empowerment account within their family. So dad’s $500 short, mom can give it to him or a cousin or uncle.”

Carson said this system would make every family their own insurance carrier, which would delete the need of a middleman.

Cruz

Sen. Ted Cruz offered the least amount of detail regarding his healthcare plan, simply stating during the debate, “I will repeal every word of Obamacare.”