The health insurance industry finally got its moment in the sun.
After being largely ignored during the general election season, Obamacare was the topic of one of the first questions during Sunday night’s town hall-style debate between presidential nominees Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump.
Responding to an audience member question on the landmark healthcare reform law, Clinton began by acknowledging that premiums “have gotten too high” and said addressing problems with the Affordable Care Act “has to be the highest priority of the next president.”
“I’m going to fix it,” she said. “I want very much to save what works and what is good about the ACA. But we’ve got to get costs down.”
Trump, meanwhile, called Obamacare “a disaster” and vowed to repeal and replace the program with “something much less expensive and something that works, where your plan can actually be tailored.”
He went on to advocate allowing insurers to sell across state lines, which he says “stop insurance companies from coming in and competing.”
“We want competition,” he said. “[Clinton] wants to go to a single-payer plan, which would be a disaster.”
Clinton countered that if the ACA is repealed, Americans will lose a number of gains they have made under the program, including preventing insurance companies from denying coverage based on pre-existing conditions, putting lifetime limits in place and charging women more for coverage.
“What Donald’s not telling you is if we just turn it back to the way it used to be, that means the insurance companies get to do pretty much whatever they want, including saying, ‘Look, I’m sorry, you’ve got diabetes, you had cancer, your child has asthma, and you may not be able to have insurance because you can’t afford it,’” she said. “That’s not going to work.”
Both candidates refused to answer questions on tougher topics posed by moderators, including former president Bill Clinton’s assertion that the ACA was “the craziest thing in the world” and Trump’s promise to make coverage accessible for people with pre-existing conditions without the individual mandate.
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