The United States is in the midst our presidential election at a time when healthcare is a major concern for a majority of Americans. In the Kaiser Health Tracking Poll from August, two-thirds of voters said that the future of Medicare and access to affordable care are a top priority for them. The Affordable Care Act (ACA)—also known as “Obamacare”—continues to be a polarizing issue to many despite the number of uninsured Americans falling below 29 million, or 9% of the U.S. population. We have previously covered many of the proposals from the presidential candidates during the primaries, but with less than two weeks before the general election we felt it important to cover the positions of the remaining candidates.

Democrat nominee, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has made healthcare a major issue in her campaign. She has defended the Affordable Care Act in speeches and pledged to improve the law as well as drop the eligible age for Medicare to 55. She has remained critical of pharmaceutical companies

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In a previous blog post, we went over why drug prices can rise seemingly without explanation and how the cost of medications ranks as a top priority to a majority of Americans.  We are now in the midst of primary elections in the United States, and candidates from both parties have addressed the issue and proposed different policies.

In the same prior blog post, we mentioned a proposed bill for the Prescription Drug Affordability Act.  Independent Senator from Vermont and Democratic Presidential Candidate Bernie Sanders proposed the bill aimed at assisting individuals with Medicare with the high costs of medications, allow government negotiations with pharmaceutical companies, and importing medications from nations that offer life-saving drugs at a lower price (particularly Canada where drug prices are 40% lower than in the US).  His presidential campaign is running on a platform of transparency in drug pricing and to prohibit anti-competitive “pay-for-delay” deals that keep cheaper generic medications being made available.

Sanders has also taken

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We are barely two weeks into 2016, and there have already been attempts to limit access to healthcare for Americans.  Last week President Obama vetoed a bill that would have repealed the Affordable Care Act (ACA, aka Obamacare) and cut all federal funding to Planned Parenthood.  The veto marks the first time a bill to repeal the Affordable Care Act has passed through Congress after more than 50 attempts. In previous blog posts, we explored how the ACA has in fact insured over 10 million people and the many services provided by Planned Parenthood to both men and women.

In the latest annual report from Planned Parenthood (2014-2015) the health impact has shown some notable declines in number of people served with cancer and/or STI screenings, likely related to the closings of Planned Parenthood clinics in Texas and other states.  Abortions still only account for 3% of Planned Parenthood’s services. In the time covered by the report, only 43% of the Planned Parenthood’s funding comes from government

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Having health insurance is vital to one’s health and financial well-being in the United States.  Out-of-pocket medical expenses are the leading cause of personal bankruptcy.  Even with new laws such as the Affordable Care Act (ACA)—aka “Obamacare”—11.7% of Americans remain uninsured.

Analysts have only recently been able to examine the data of uninsured rates prior to ACA’s implementation to now.  WalletHub released the stats for all 50 states and Washington DC and ranked each by their current uninsured rate; Massachusetts is ranked highest with only 3.28% uninsured, and Texas is ranked last with 19.06%.

In numbers, even the last-ranked state Texas reduced children’s uninsured rate by 23.88% and adult uninsured rate by 19.27% between 2010 and 2014. Even with the current highest rate of uninsured Americans, 827,997 people gained health insurance coverage in Texas in the years being analyzed.

Over 10,000,000 previously uninsured Americans are now covered under the ACA.  In a previous

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Medicare is turning 50 this week. In July 1965, President Johnson led Congress to create a federal health insurance program under the Social Security Act. Medicare covers people over 65 years old and younger people with certain disabilities or diseases. According to recent Yale University study, Americans on Medicare are spending less time in the hospital, living longer, and spending less on hospital visits as compared to 15 years ago.

The Yale study focused on Medicare beneficiaries over 65 years of age between the years of 1999 and 2013 and the trends in mortality, hospitalizations, and expenditures in that time.  All the measured trends decreased in the time examined; however the cost per inpatient death rose $2000 between 1999 and 2009, but then fell $4000 by 2013—$2000 less than the initial figure.  The out-of-pocket expenses for medical services dropped an average of almost $500 in the years studied.

Medicare is funded through the US Treasury, though patients still have some out-of-pocket expenses associated with their medical care.  The Affordable Care Act expanded Medicare benefits and funding to help those in need.

There

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