Photo by Marc Nozell

We are in the beginnings of an election year in the United States and the first primary votes to determine the Democratic nominee will be cast in the coming weeks. Healthcare costs remain a top concern for voters, and candidates have developed varying proposals to improve healthcare, reform the current system, and reduce healthcare costs in the U.S.   Independent Senator from Vermont and 2016 Democratic Presidential Candidate Bernie Sanders has long championed the ideal of single payer healthcare, often referred to as Medicare for All in the U.S. In a single payer system, the federal government fully covers every service and procedure, including dental, vision, long-term care and abortion, with no out-of-pocket charge to patients. Bernie Sanders has often claimed Medicare for All is the

only way to address deeper problems in the United States healthcare system, from medical bankruptcies to high maternal mortality rates, especially among poor and minority women. Senator Sanders has proposed allowing importing medication from abroad at lower costs and the creation of a government bureau to set drug prices based on their costs in countries like Canada, United Kingdom, and Japan. That bureau would also consider a drug’s research and development costs and federal investments that contributed to its development; if companies don't comply with the price, the government could let other companies produce the drug. Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren joins Sanders in supporting a single-payer healthcare system, though has indicated that she would wait until later in her term to make such a…

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 raising the price of life-saving medications such as EpiPens, and promised to expand access to affordable healthcare in rural America. As the first female candidate for a major American political party, Hillary Clinton is a strong defender of reproductive healthcare and a woman’s right to choose. Mental health has also been a major talking point for the Clinton campaign, promoting programs that can diagnose mental illness early and proposed a national suicide prevention initiative. She has pledged to invest in…

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 symbolic steps in combatting high drug prices, such as rejecting a donation to his campaign from a high-profile pharmaceutical company CEO and directing the funds to a Washington health clinic instead.  A Sanders spokesperson said: “We are not keeping the money from this poster boy for drug company greed.”   Democrat Candidate Hillary Clinton wants to cap the out-of-pocket costs for prescription medications and require drug companies to invest in research and development as opposed to marketing/direct-to-consumer advertising or profits. Several states have already implemented monthly or annual…