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Clinton’s Support For A Canadian Like, Single Payer Healthcare System

- October 9, 2016

In A Private, Closed-Door Speech, Clinton Said Single Payer Systems Bring The Costs Of Healthcare Down. CLINTON: “If you look at countries that are comparable, like Switzerland or Germany, for example, they have mixed systems. They don’t have just a single-payer system, but they have very clear controls over budgeting and accountability. If you look at the single-payer systems, like Scandinavia, Canada, and elsewhere, they can get costs down because, you know, although their care, according to statistics, overall is as good or better on primary care, in particular, they do impose things like waiting times, you know. It takes longer to get like a hip replacement than it might take here.” (TCARRK@HillaryClinton.com, Remarks to ECGR Grand Rapids, 6/17/13, Email To Clinton Campaign Communications Staff, 1/25/16)

In A Different Speech, She Referenced President Lyndon B. Johnson’s Success In Setting Up Medicare And Medicaid As Justification For Wanting To Set Up A Universal Healthcare System In The U.S. That Resembles Canada. CLINTON: “You know, on healthcare we are the prisoner of our past. The way we got to develop any kind of medical insurance program was during World War II when companies facing shortages of workers began to offer healthcare benefits as an inducement for employment. So from the early 1940s healthcare was seen as a privilege connected to employment. And after the war when soldiers came back and went back into the market there was a lot of competition, because the economy was so heated up. So that model continued. And then of course our large labor unions bargained for healthcare with the employers that their members worked for. So from the early 1940s until the early 1960s we did not have any Medicare, or our program for the poor called Medicaid until President Johnson was able to get both passed in 1965. So the employer model continued as the primary means by which working people got health insurance. People over 65 were eligible for Medicare. Medicaid, which was a partnership, a funding partnership between the federal government and state governments, provided some, but by no means all poor people with access to healthcare. So what we've been struggling with certainly Harry Truman, then Johnson was successful on Medicare and Medicaid, but didn't touch the employer based system, then actually Richard Nixon made a proposal that didn't go anywhere, but was quite far reaching. Then with my husband's administration we worked very hard to come up with a system, but we were very much constricted by the political realities that if you had your insurance from your employer you were reluctant to try anything else. And so we were trying to build a universal system around the employer-based system. And indeed now with President Obama's legislative success in getting the Affordable Care Act passed that is what we've done. We still have primarily an employer-based system, but we now have people able to get subsidized insurance. So we have health insurance companies playing a major role in the provision of healthcare, both to the employed whose employers provide health insurance, and to those who are working but on their own are not able to afford it and their employers either don't provide it, or don't provide it at an affordable price. We are still struggling. We've made a lot of progress. Ten million Americans now have insurance who didn't have it before the Affordable Care Act, and that is a great step forward. (Applause.) And what we're going to have to continue to do is monitor what the costs are and watch closely to see whether employers drop more people from insurance so that they go into what we call the health exchange system. So we're really just at the beginning. But we do have Medicare for people over 65. And you couldn't, I don't think, take it away if you tried, because people are very satisfied with it, but we also have a lot of political and financial resistance to expanding that system to more people. So we're in a learning period as we move forward with the implementation of the Affordable Care Act. And I'm hoping that whatever the shortfalls or the glitches have been, which in a big piece of legislation you're going to have, those will be remedied and we can really take a hard look at what's succeeding, fix what isn't, and keep moving forward to get to affordable universal healthcare coverage like you have here in Canada.” (TCARRK@HillaryClinton.com, Remarks For tinePublic, Saskatoon, CA, 1/21/15, Email To Clinton Campaign Communications Staff, 1/25/16)

Publicly, Clinton Has Rebuffed Calls For A Single-Payer System Saying It Would Never Come To Pass

In The 2016 Presidential Primary Contest, Clinton Claimed A Single Payer System Would Never Come To Pass. “Just a few days before the Iowa caucuses, Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton stressed to voters in Des Moines just how unfeasible she considers her opponent Bernie Sanders' plan to pursue a single-payer health care system. ‘I want you to understand why I am fighting so hard for the Affordable Care Act,’ she said at Grand View University after hearing from a woman who spoke about her daughter receiving cancer treatment thanks to the health care law. ‘I don't want it repealed, I don't want us to be thrown back into a terrible, terrible national debate. I don't want us to end up in gridlock. People can't wait!’ She added, ‘People who have health emergencies can't wait for us to have a theoretical debate about some better idea that will never, ever come to pass.’” (Stephanie Condon, “Hillary Clinton: Single-Payer Health Care Will ‘Never, Ever’ Happen,” CBS News, 1/29/16)

Clinton Has Publicly Opposed Senator Bernie Sanders (D-VT) Call For A Single-Payer System For Months. “For months during the Democratic presidential nominating contest, Hillary Clinton has resisted calls from Senator Bernie Sanders to back a single-payer health system, arguing that the fight for government-run health care was a wrenching legislative battle that had already been lost. But as she tries to clinch the nomination, Mrs. Clinton is moving to the left on health care and this week took a significant step in her opponent’s direction, suggesting she would like to give people the option to buy into Medicare. ‘I’m also in favor of what’s called the public option, so that people can buy into Medicare at a certain age,’ Mrs. Clinton said on Monday at a campaign event in Virginia. Mr. Sanders calls his single-payer health care plan ‘Medicare for all.’” (Allan Rappeport And Margot Sanger-Katz, “Hillary Clinton Takes A Step To The Left On Health Care,” The New York Times, 5/10/16)


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