How Trump, Clinton would fix the "crazy" U.S. health system

Tue Oct 18, 2016 6:00am EDT
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By Caroline Humer and Emily Stephenson

Oct 18 (Reuters) - When former President Bill Clinton called parts of Obamacare "crazy," he put his wife Hillary Clinton on the defensive and gave much-needed ammunition to her Republican rival for the presidency, Donald Trump, who wants to scrap it.

Bill Clinton said this month that while millions more Americans now have insurance coverage under President Barack Obama's signature 2010 healthcare law, small businesses and some families are still "getting killed" by surging healthcare costs. He later clarified that he was not criticizing the entire initiative, he was just making an argument for fixing it.

Still, Clinton's comments may not have been so crazy. He put a spotlight on an uncomfortable truth: after six years, billions of dollars and a sweeping reform that stands as Obama's single biggest domestic policy achievement, health care is still unaffordable for many Americans.

Americans are growing increasingly anxious about rising healthcare costs, and critics of the law have said it is not living up to its promises. Two of the nation's largest health insurers, Aetna and United Healthcare, are also pulling out of the state-based health insurance exchanges that are the best-known creations of Obamacare.

Clinton says she wants to save the best of Obamacare, also known as the Affordable Care Act, while reducing costs. Trump says it is an expensive "disaster" that is on track to implode in 2017. He wants to replace it with something cheaper.

Whoever wins the presidency on Nov. 8 will likely face pressure to move quickly to reshape a healthcare initiative that affects millions of Americans.