Last month, after a long and increasingly-bitter primary struggle, Bernie Sanders endorsed Hillary Clinton for president – thanks in no small part to her recent support of a public healthcare option. To win his followers’ support, she’s had to make several adjustments to her position. That being the case, we decided it’s time for an update. What exactly is the Democratic position on healthcare at this point?
The Democratic position on healthcare
“I have come here to make it as clear as possible as to why I am endorsing Hillary Clinton and why she must become our next president,” Sanders said last month.
His reasons were several, from the need to increase the minimum wage to the fact that several Supreme Court justices will be selected during the next presidential term. But among the issues that took center stage, right alongside wealth inequality, was healthcare.
“This campaign is about moving the United States toward universal health care and reducing the number of people who are uninsured or under-insured,” Sanders said. “Hillary Clinton wants to see that all Americans have the right to choose a public option in their health care exchange, which will lower the cost of health care.”
What’s the Democratic position on health care now? Bernie Sanders summarized it this way:
- Allow anyone 55 or older to opt into Medicare
- Expand community health centers to improve access to dental, mental health and primary health care services
- Triple the funding for the National Health Service Corps to incentivize young medical professionals to practice in underserved areas
- Make Medicare negotiate drug prices in order to dramatically reduce their cost
- Expand the use of generic medicine to make it affordable
Hard-won unity has healthcare to thank
The newfound unity between Clinton and Sanders was no easy move. “The coming-together finally occurred after long talks involving Clinton, Sanders and his wife, Jane, as well as top campaign officials on both sides,” according to The Hill. “The negotiations centered on how the two candidates could push forward with an agreed-upon agenda.”
Clinton’s adjustment on healthcare proved instrumental in overcoming the divide. The Sanders endorsement came just days after she publicized her support for a public option, along with funding for community-based health centers, a concept that Sanders has been championing, according to the Washington Post. This new point in Clinton’s platform would expand taxpayer-funded healthcare beyond what’s currently provided by the ACA, said CNN.
Yet if Clinton’s stance is a move toward ideals that Sanders has been working for, the conversion is not complete. “We have more work to do to finish our long fight to provide universal, quality, affordable health care to everyone in America,” said the Clinton campaign, according to CNN. Yet Sanders called it an important step.
“Today’s proposal by @HillaryClinton is an important step toward expanding health insurance and health care access to millions of Americans,” he tweeted.
Long story short, the primary struggle between Sanders and Clinton has resolved – for the candidates themselves, if not for all of their followers – in a position of unity. Their new slogan, Stronger Together, is emblematic.
“Democrats are now headed to the nominating conventions far more unified than the GOP,” said The Hill. Clinton’s decision to embrace some of Sanders’ ideals around healthcare deserves some of the credit for that.
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