2016 Republican Platform
Restoring Patient Control and Preserving Quality in Healthcare
Any honest agenda for improving healthcare must start with repeal of the dishonestly named Affordable Care Act of 2010: Obamacare. It weighs like the dead hand of the past upon American medicine. It imposed a Euro-style bureaucracy to manage its unworkable, budget-busting, conflicting provisions. It has driven up prices for all consumers. Their insurance premiums have dramatically increased while their deductibles have risen about eight times faster than wages in the last ten years.
Preserving Medicare and Medicaid
More than 100 million Americans depend on Medicare or Medicaid for their healthcare; with our population aging, that number will increase. To preserve Medicare and Medicaid, the financing of these important programs must be brought under control before they consume most of the federal budget, including national defense. We intend to save Medicare by modernizing it, empowering its participants, and putting it on a secure financial footing. We will preserve the promise of Medicaid as well by making that program, designed for 1965 medicine, a vehicle for good health in an entirely new era.
Medicare’s long-term debt is in the trillions, and it is funded by a workforce that is shrinking relative to the size of future beneficiaries. When a vital program is so clearly headed for a train wreck, it’s time to put it on a more secure track. That is why we propose these reforms: Impose no changes for persons 55 or older. Give others the option of traditional Medicare or transition to a premium-support model designed to strengthen patient choice, promote cost-saving competition among providers, and better guard against the fraud and abuse that now diverts billions of dollars every year away from patient care. Guarantee to every enrollee an income-adjusted contribution toward a plan of their choice, with catastrophic protection. Without disadvantaging present retirees or those nearing retirement, set a more realistic age for eligibility in light of today’s longer life span.
Medicaid presents related, but somewhat different challenges. As the dominant force in the health market with regard to long-term care, births, and persons with mental illness, it is the next frontier of welfare reform. It is simply too big and too flawed to be administered from Washington. Most of the vaunted expansion of health insurance coverage under Obamacare actually has been an unprecedented expansion of the Medicaid rolls in many states. We applaud the Republican governors and state legislators who have undertaken the hard work of modernizing Medicaid. We will give them a free hand to do so by block-granting the program without strings. Their initiatives — whether premium supports for purchasing insurance, refundable tax credits, alternatives to hospitalization for chronic patients, disease prevention activities, and other innovations — are the best strategy for preserving Medicaid for those who need it the most.
2008 Democratic Party Platform
Covering All Americans and Providing Real Choices of Affordable Health Insurance Options
Families and individuals should have the option of keeping the coverage they have or choosing from a wide array of health insurance plans, including many private health insurance options and a public plan. Coverage should be made affordable for all Americans with subsidies provided through tax credits and other means.
2016 Democratic Party Platform (DRAFT)
Universal Health Care
We believe as Democrats that health care is a right, not a privilege, and our health care system should put people before profits. Thanks to the hard work of President Obama and Democrats in Congress we took a critically important step towards the goal of universal health care by passing the Affordable Care Act (ACA), which has offered coverage to 20 million more Americans and ensured millions more will never be denied coverage on account of a pre-existing condition.
We will keep costs down by making premiums more affordable, reducing out-of-pocket expenses, and capping prescription drug costs. Democrats will also work to end surprise billing and other practices associated with out-of-control medical debt that lead to unconscionable economic strain on American households. We will offer relief so Americans do not face high costs, and we will fight back against insurers trying to impose excessive premium increases.
By Don McCanne, M.D.
Political party platforms are typically loaded with rhetoric designed to fire up the political base, and, as such, are often not taken seriously. But piercing through the rhetoric there are often concepts of substance, good or bad. Take health care.
The Democratic platform of 2008 promised us a market of private health plans with government subsidies. That, in essence, is what we got as a major feature of the Affordable care Act. The Democrats rejected single payer and instead delivered on their comparatively feeble platform promises.
For the preliminary draft of their 2016 platform, the Democrats again voted to reject single payer and substituted it with a “health care is a right” statement void of any meaningful policy. They support instead mere tweaks to the Affordable Car Act.
Reading past the Republican’s rhetoric, they are now promising in their platform changes to two of our most important government health programs. They would convert Medicare to a premium support program, shifting costs away from the federal government and onto the backs of Medicare beneficiaries. They would also establish block grants to the states for the Medicaid program, shifting costs from the federal government and onto the states, many of which which would likely respond with a reduction in essential health care benefits for the needy.
One party wants to coast along with a grossly deficient system, leaving millions uninsured and underinsured, and the other would begin to dismantle what protection the government does provide. Wish they would dump the rhetoric and start working on real policy that would ensure adequate, affordable health care for everyone.
Of course, several readers would remind us that the Green Party supports single payer reform. Yes… Hmm…
Physicians for a National Health Program is a nonpartisan educational organization. It neither supports nor opposes any political party or candidate for public office.