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Where are Clinton and Trump on Health Care?

Publish Date: August 3, 2016

With Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton now confirmed as the Republican and Democratic nominees, we can take a look at where they stand on health care policies.

The Conventions

The Republican and Democratic National Conventions were chock full of elected officials addressing the American public on why their preferred candidate should be President, representing his or her view on the important issues, including health care. Every night of the DNC included speeches and videos where the work Clinton has done to secure health care coverage for children and the 9/11 first responders was highlighted. Even Clinton’s acceptance speech included references to her accomplishments with the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) and her desire to make health care affordable for more Americans. On the other hand, many RNC speeches focused on ensuring the repeal of the Affordable Care Act in order to follow free market principals and broaden health care access.

Throughout both conventions, there were several panels and briefings on domestic and foreign issues hosted by organizations and the media. RealClearPolitics hosted policy panels at the RNC and DNC titled “Decoding 2016: The Future of Healthcare,” sponsored by the American Nurses Association, Walgreens, the American Podiatric Medical Association, and the American Association of Nurse Anesthetists, which focused on the health policy plans of Trump and Clinton.

AORN Government Affairs Manager, Danielle Glover, attended the RealClearPolitics panel at the DNC, while Kay Ball, an AORN past president, attended the panel at the RNC. “Nurses must always be present at the health care table when issues are debated and decisions are made as nurses are the foundation of any health care system,” said Kay Ball PhD, RN, CNOR, FAAN. “With health policy on federal and state lawmakers’ minds, there is a great demand for AORN members to serve as a resource to policymakers,” said Danielle Glover. “I am excited to see briefings like this being held at the DNC and RNC because there is a need to ensure those that are elected understand health care – no matter whether “R” or “D” is behind their name. There is room for much work to be done around patient safety with bipartisan support.”

Donald Trump on Health Care

Trump plans to immediately ask Congress to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA). His health care platform proposes requiring price transparency from health care providers so people can more easily compare costs, restructuring Medicaid to be managed by the states with less federal involvement, and allowing individuals to deduct their full insurance premiums as businesses currently do. Another priority included in Trump’s platform is amending the current law which obstructs the sale of health insurance plans across state lines to allow any vendor to offer a plan in any state. His proposal also recommends removing barriers to entry into free markets for drug providers that offer safe and cheaper products. Trump also believes that by enforcing immigration laws, health care cost pressures on the government would be alleviated.

Hillary Clinton on Health Care

Clinton wants to strengthen and build on the ACA. Part of this effort includes launching a national campaign to enroll people in health insurance who are eligible but not yet enrolled and working to reduce out-of-pocket costs such as deductibles. Concurrently, Clinton’s health care platform calls for providing a new, progressive refundable tax credit of up to $5,000 per family for excessive out-of-pocket costs. She plans to bring affordable health care to more people by allowing families to purchase insurance on the exchanges regardless of their immigration status, increasing reimbursement eligibility for telehealth providers to expand rural access to care, and supporting new incentives to encourage the 19 states that have yet to expand Medicaid. Clinton also supports a public option for health care coverage for those who want it. Clinton, along with the Democratic Party, also favors repealing the ACA “Cadillac Tax”, a 40 percent excise tax on high-cost, employer-sponsored health care plans, which Congress has already delayed implementation of from 2018 until 2020. Clinton’s policy position also calls for investing in outreach and broadening and enforcing the ACA’s transparency provisions, so people can make informed choices about their plan, their providers, and their prescriptions.


Because the Republicans and Democrats are so divided on the ACA and other health policies, it is doubtful we will see significant changes to policy immediately after the elections. If Trump is elected President, we may see incremental reversals and changes to the ACA, but full repeal remains unlikely. With Clinton as President, we will most likely see small tweaks to the ACA. And while Clinton and Trump differ dramatically in their health care policies, they do both recommend tax deductions and changes to how our country controls prescription drugs.

As perioperative nurses, it is important to understand the policy environment in which you practice, so you can predict changes and help provide the best care possible to your patients. No matter who you are supporting, now is a great time to get involved in policymaking, especially at the state level. Health policy is top of mind for candidates and elected officials and after November they will be looking for experts on whom to rely. Ensure you are a voice for your profession and your patients by reaching out to candidates and policy makers in your state today. Share how you ensure patient safety, what your concerns are, and offer yourself as a resource.

Important campaign dates:

  • Sept. 26: First presidential debate
  • Oct. 4: Vice presidential debate
  • Oct. 9: Second presidential debate
  • Oct. 19: Third presidential debate
  • Nov. 8: Election Day!

For questions, contact Danielle Glover, AORN Government Affairs Manager at [email protected]. AORN does not endorse political candidates.