Hillary Clinton announced a plan Wednesday to reduce Americans’ annual healthcare costs by building on Obamacare and expanding on its goals.
Her plan, which would provide tax credits to offset consumer’s out-of-pocket costs for healthcare and seeks to encourage innovation, reflects a significant step forward in Democrats’ plan to address healthcare costs five years after the passage of the Affordable Care Act.
Clinton seeks to address the recent rise in deductibles and consumer costs for healthcare.
“When Americans get sick, high costs shouldn’t prevent them from getting better,” Clinton said in a statement. “With deductibles rising so much faster than incomes, we must act to reduce the out-of-pocket costs families face. My plan would take a number of steps to ease the burden of medical expenses and protect health care consumers.”
Her plan would create a tax credit of up to $5,000 per family for high out-of-pocket healthcare costs and would require insurers to cover up three sick visits to a doctor per year. It would also cap an individual’s cost of medical bills at no more than in-network cost-sharing for any care received in a hospital in their insurance plan’s network—part of a goal to limit unexpectedly high medical bills.
The plan would also seek to limit mega-mergers in the insurance and healthcare provider industries, which Clinton says can lead to higher prices and lower-quality care. She says she would enforce antitrust laws and strengthen authority to block unreasonable health insurance rate increases.
Clinton also said she would propose public-private efforts to incentivize insurers to provide coverage based on the value of care, rather than the number of tests and care. The plan would also expand Obamacare’s transparency provisions.
Republicans accused Clinton of “doubling down” on Obamacare. “Hillary Clinton’s ‘ObamaCare 2.0’ plan is a tacit admission that the president’s health law hasn’t succeeded, but doubling down on the same principles is only a recipe for more failure,” said Republican National Committee spokesman Michael Short.
The Democratic frontrunner for the nomination has been campaigning this week in Louisiana and Iowa on a message of strengthening healthcare in the United States and building on Obamacare.
She has lambasted Republicans for seeking to repeal Obamacare, pointing to the more than 16 million newly insured Americans under the law.
“I’m not going to let them rip away the progress we’ve made,” Clinton said on Monday in Louisiana. “I’m not going to let them tear up that law, kick 16 million people off their health coverage, and force this country to start the health care debate all over again. Not on my watch.”