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Study finds 20 million would lose health coverage under Donald Trump plan

A new study that examines some major health care proposals from the presidential candidates finds that Donald Trump would cause about 20 million to lose coverage while Hillary Clinton would provide coverage for an additional 9 million people.

By: | Washington | Published: September 23, 2016 4:51 PM
US Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump. (Reuters) US Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump. (Reuters)

A new study that examines some major health care proposals from the presidential candidates finds that Donald Trump would cause about 20 million to lose coverage while Hillary Clinton would provide coverage for an additional 9 million people.

The 2016 presidential campaign has brought voters to a crossroads on health care yet again. The US uninsured rate stands at a historically low 8.6 per cent, mainly because of President Barack Obama’s health care law, which expanded government and private coverage. Yet it’s uncertain if the nation’s newest social program will survive the election.

Republican candidate Trump would repeal “Obamacare” and replace it with a new tax deduction, insurance market changes, and a Medicaid overhaul.

Democrat Clinton would increase financial assistance for people with private insurance and expand government coverage as well.

The two approaches would have starkly different results, according to the Commonwealth Fund study released today.

The analysis was carried out by the RAND Corporation, a global research organization that uses computer simulation to test the potential effects of health care proposals.

Although the New York-based Commonwealth Fund is nonpartisan, it generally supports the goals of increased coverage and access to health care.

Economist Sara Collins, who heads the Commonwealth Fund’s work on coverage and access, said RAND basically found that Trump’s replacement plan isn’t robust enough to make up for the insurance losses from repealing the Affordable Care Act. “Certainly it doesn’t fully offset the effects of repeal,” Collins said.

One worrisome finding is that the number of uninsured people in fair or poor health could triple under Trump. It would rise from an estimated 2.1 million people under current laws to between 5.7 million and 7.1 million under Trump’s approach, depending on which of his policy proposals was analysed.

When uninsured people wind up in the hospital, the cost of their treatment gets shifted to others, including state and federal taxpayers. Trump has said he doesn’t want people “dying on the street.”

The study panned one of Trump’s main ideas: allowing insurers to sell private policies across state lines. Collins said insurers would cherry-pick the healthiest customers and steer them to skimpy plans. Other experts don’t see it as bleakly, believing that interstate policies could attract customers through lower premiums.

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