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09.22.2016 / Press Release

Key Health Care Questions Lester Holt Should Pose in the First Clinton/Trump Debate

Washington, D.C. – Families USA Executive Director Ron Pollack today called on presidential debate moderator Lester Holt to devote one of his six segments to questions on health care when Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump square off next Monday.

“It would be downright bizarre if health care, an issue that deeply affects virtually all Americans, and where the candidates differ so greatly, would not be a subject covered in this debate,” Pollack said. “This election will decide the direction of health care in America for years to come, and this will be the voters’ first chance to hear a side-by-side comparison of what the candidates plans are.

“I hope Lester Holt will take advantage of this opportunity to explore the huge health policy differences between the two candidates.”

Pollack proposed the following questions be asked of the candidates.

Trump:

  • On the one hand, you have called for expanding Medicaid so that every American who wants health coverage can have it. But you have also proposed turning the program into a block grant that would likely leave states short of money to pay for patient care. Can you offer more detail on what you are proposing?
  • Repealing the Affordable Care Act (ACA), as you propose, would mean repealing the ban on insurance companies denying coverage to people with pre-existing conditions or dropping their coverage once they get sick. What is your plan for protecting existing coverage for Americans with pre-existing or chronic conditions?
  • The ACA prohibits insurance companies from charging women higher premiums simply because they are women. If you repeal the ACA, this protection will vanish. What will you do to protect a woman’s ability to purchase health insurance at the same price as men?
  • More than 11 million people have bought health insurance through the federal or state healthcare exchanges. If you repeal the ACA, the exchanges disappear, along with the subsidies that keep insurance affordable for average Americans. What is your plan to help these people?
  • About 3 million young adults have taken advantage of their right under the ACA to remain on their parents’ health insurance plan. If you repeal the ACA, what will happen to them?

Clinton:

  • A third of the counties in the U.S. will have just one insurance option in their exchanges next year. What can you do to get more insurers to participate in the exchanges and create some price competition to help consumers?
  • Insurers are complaining that the risk pool is older and sicker than they first expected when the healthcare exchanges first opened for business. This, naturally, drives up the cost of premiums. What will you do to bring younger and healthier people into the exchanges to broaden the risk pool?
  • People complain that, even with health insurance, deductibles are so high they can’t afford the care they need. What will you do to bring these costs down so the ACA is really affordable?
  • Even if you win, unless things change dramatically, you will face a Congress opposed to the ACA and unlikely to do anything to improve it. What will you be able to do change this situation that President Obama has not?
  • Communities of color face many barriers in their quest for high-quality, affordable health care. What would you do to close this health equity gap?