Democratic candidates: Healthcare views at a glance

Read about what the Democratic candidates for president would do to change the healthcare system in the U.S.

Democratic candidates: Healthcare views at a glance




Hillary Clinton

Supports the Affordable Care Act (ACA); advocates repeal of the “Cadillac tax” scheduled to take effect in 2018; more open to ‘market’ approaches however, wants tougher government regulations; supports aggressive efforts to reduce prescription drug pricing; vigorous enforcement antitrust laws to scrutinize mergers and ensure they do not harm consumers, reduce cost-sharing for ordinary doctor visits, creation of a new tax credit for out-of-pocket costs, capping a patient’s share of the bill for doctor visits and prescription drugs.

Related: Democratic debate: 5 key takeaways

“Of the two leading Democratic candidates, Secretary Clinton is very knowledgeable about healthcare having gone through with her husband to no avail,” says G. William Hoagland, senior vice president, Bipartisan Policy Center. “She will be supportive of the current ACA, but will also want to find ways to address increasing drug prices for specialty drugs and to continue to expand Medicaid in those states that chose not to expand under the ACA.”





Bernie Sanders

Supports a single-payer system Medicare for all; coauthored a bill to repeal the Cadillac Tax; proposed various aggressive ways to reduce prescription drug costs; will vigorously support and expand Planned Parenthood and Title X, and would only nominate Supreme Court justices who support Roe v. Wade and the reproductive rights of women. 

“Bernie Sanders view of healthcare reform according to, openly advocates a socialist point of view that would nationalize healthcare by creating a ‘single-payer option,” says Paul Johnson, CEO and founder of Redirect Health. “His views appear to be nationalization.”

In Sanders’ view, “federal and state governments would provide healthcare to all Americans. Participating states would be required to set up their own single-payer system and a national oversight board would establish an overall budget. Sanders’ proposal would establish healthcare as a right to all U.S. citizens and be paid for through government spending. Under his plan, for-profit health insurance companies would provide only supplemental coverage,” says Joseph M. Mack, MPA, president, Joseph Mack & Associates, a managed care and value-based consultant.

“He will argue that the ACA did not go far enough and the only way to control healthcare costs is to have the government control all healthcare expenditures,” Hoagland says.




Martin O'Malley

Supports the ACA and believes it was a good first step toward an all-payer system and establishment of state caps on medical cost & hospital fees; implemented ACA in Maryland as Governor; has supported HMO report cards.

Related: U.S. House of Representatives v. Burwell

“[Maryland’s] state exchange got off to a rough start, but the ship got righted and is operating well now,” says Ralph S. Tyler, Esq., partner at Venable LLP. “Maryland implemented Medicaid expansion.”

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