Thursday 29 September 2016

US voters trust Clinton more on healthcare, says poll

Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar

Published 02/09/2016 | 02:30

Hillary Clinton
Hillary Clinton

From Medicare to medical costs, more voters trust Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton to do a better job on healthcare issues facing the nation, according to a poll out yesterday. But they're not holding out hope for big improvements.

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The survey from the non-partisan Kaiser Family Foundation also found that the future of Medicare and overall access and affordability are the top health care issues for voters. Neither of those is getting much attention in a campaign that has been dominated by questions of character and temperament.

On the basic money question, the poll found that 36pc of voters feared their own access to affordable care would get worse if Republican Donald Trump was elected, versus 24pc who worried their own situations would worsen under Clinton.

Just over half said a Clinton presidency would not make much difference to their own personal access, while 37pc felt the same way about Trump.

"Even though Hillary Clinton is trusted by more of the public on these issues, they have pretty low expectations that things will get better, no matter who wins," said Kaiser polling chief Mollyann Brodie.

Clinton has played a prominent role on healthcare issues for more than 20 years, since she emerged on the national scene as the leader of the failed effort to pass a bill providing health care for all in her husband's first presidential term.

She's a candidate of continuity, expressing strong support for Medicare, Medicaid, and President Barack Obama's healthcare law. She's proposed incremental improvements but no sweeping changes.

Trump's views on healthcare seem fluid. He has said he wouldn't cut Medicare and he won't stand for people "dying on the street," but his healthcare plan is basically a collection of Republican talking points. He'd repeal 'Obamacare', and he has expressed support for a House GOP plan to limit Medicaid spending and turn the program for low-income people over to the states.

Both candidates have said they'd authorise Medicare to negotiate drug prices. That puts Trump at odds with most Republicans, who see Medicare negotiations as nothing more than the government dictating prices.

Republican policy experts say they expect House Speaker Paul Ryan of Wisconsin to take the GOP lead on healthcare if Trump is elected. Ryan favours a major overhaul of Medicare for future retirees, gradually replacing open-ended government coverage with a limited payment that beneficiaries could use for a range of insurance options.

Women's access to reproductive health accounted for the biggest trust gap between Clinton and Trump.

Sixty-four percent of voters - and 71pc of women voters - said they trusted Clinton to do a better job. The numbers for Trump were 28pc and 20pc, respectively.

Irish Independent

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