Clinton vs Trump: Who’s Best for Your Healthcare Wallet?

Doug Hirsch
Doug is co-founder of GoodRx.
Posted on

Americans are clearly unhappy about the rising cost of prescription drugs and healthcare, and the leading 2016 presidential candidates have proposed all sorts of ideas to fix the problem. Here’s a snapshot of what the candidates have said on these important issues.

Where the Major Candidates Agree

It’s hard to imagine Clinton and Trump agreeing on anything, but they actually have some ideas in common. Here’s a summary:

Where the Candidates Disagree

Donald Trump hasn’t provided many details regarding his plan for healthcare, but he has some specific proposals that would impact healthcare costs and services in this country. Specifically:

Hillary Clinton, by contrast, has posted extensively about her plans to expand Obamacare and tackle the high cost of prescription medications. She was very vocal during the EpiPen price controversy during the summer of 2016 when she demanded an explanation from the manufacturer. Here’s a summary of Clinton’s positions:

Inaccurate Claims

Both candidates have made claims which appear to be factually inaccurate.

In a March 2016 debate, Trump claimed the government could save “hundreds of billions of dollars in waste” through negotiating prescription drug prices. However, the annual budget for Medicare Part D is less than that amount.

In a January 2016 advertisement, Clinton’s campaign claimed that drug prices have doubled in the last seven years. While brand name drugs have increased in price, generic drug prices have actually dropped significantly. The average increase for all drug purchases, while hard to measure, is likely not double.

What about the other presidential candidates?

Other presidential candidates may be less well known, but they’ve touched on healthcare reform.

Jill Stein (Green Party)

Stein believes strongly in the role of the government to provide quality healthcare for Americans. From her campaign website: “(Jill will) establish an improved ‘Medicare For All’ single-payer public health insurance program to provide everyone with quality healthcare, at huge savings.” Her plan would eliminate co-pays, premiums and deductibles, as well as any limitations whatsoever. Her platform does not indicate how these expanded benefits would be funded. Like Clinton and Trump, she also wants to use bulk purchasing negotiations by the government to reduce the cost of prescriptions.

Gary Johnson (Libertarian Party)

Johnson does not specifically mention drug prices on his campaign website. Typically, libertarian candidates prefer market forces to legislation, so one could presume that he would generally be against new laws or interference with the private market. Gary believes “the government should never regulate prices of private businesses.” While not directly related to prescription drugs, Johnson also advocates legalizing the use of marijuana.

Where does GoodRx stand? What’s the right answer?

The best candidate to tackle high drug prices is . . . nah, we’re not going to go there.

Providing quality, affordable healthcare is a very complicated problem, and it likely requires more than a bunch of campaign promises to solve. The solution requires big changes to the way our system currently works—Congress, insurance companies, employers and, yes, patients will all have to reset expectations.

Regardless of which candidate wins, we’ll continue to do our part to help Americans understand the system and find ways to afford their healthcare.

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