At a campaign stop in Des Moines, Iowa, the Democratic presidential frontrunner Hillary Clinton outlined some of the key health care programs she plans to enact if elected president in November 2016.
According to a report by the Associated Press, Clinton’s plan would, among other things, “deny tax breaks for televised direct-to-consumer advertising and require drug companies that receive taxpayers’ support to invest in research and development.”
The most significant (and radical) part of Clinton’s proposal, however, is to institute a government-mandated cap on the amount of money patients have to pay out-of-pocket for prescription drugs.
As reported by Time, “Under the plan, monthly out-of-pocket costs for all patients would be limited at $250 per month for individuals, which [Clinton’s] campaign said would help up to one million Americans. She would also require pharmaceutical companies to pay higher rebates to Medicare in exchange for the federal program insuring prescriptions drugs, a measure her campaign says would save the program $100 billion.”
Some have suggested, including Sam Frizell at Time Magazine, Clinton’s added controls of the health care market differ significantly from the proposal to move entirely to a single-payer health care system offered by her most serious challenger, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT). On the surface, that may be true. Clinton seeks to maintain the “progress,” as she put it, initiated by the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and Sanders wants to tear up the ACA and establish single-payer, government-controlled health insurance right now.
In the end, however, both plans eventually end up in the same place, with the only real difference being the speed at which single-payer is instituted.