Keeping up with the dizzying twists and turns of the 2016 primary season is enough to give any voter whiplash. Regardless of where you fall on the political spectrum, it is important to understand where candidates stand on the issues that matter most, including health care. This issue affects every American, but any future changes will have a significant impact on family caregivers, seniors and those nearing the retirement age.
Health Care and the 2016 Presidential Election
AgingCare.com conducted the “Health Care and the 2016 Presidential Election Survey” asking caregivers about candidate preference based on their plans for the American health care system. Of more than 1,500 caregivers, just over one-third (34%) favor Hillary Clinton’s proposed health care policies. Donald Trump trailed in second place (26%) and Bernie Sanders came through as a close third (24%).
At stake this presidential election are the future of the Affordable Care Act (also known as “Obamacare”), changes to Medicare and Social Security benefits, competing proposals for lowering the cost of prescription drugs, and the potential sale of health insurance across state lines.
The second component of the survey addressed these issues by asking respondents to select three health-related concerns they believe should be top priorities for the next president. Participants selected from a list of issues, including repealing the Affordable Care Act (ACA), continuing the ACA, Medicare, Medicaid, Veterans care, prescription drug programs, the sale of health insurance across state lines, coverage for pre-existing medical conditions, healthy living incentives, Alzheimer’s disease, implementation of electronic medical records, and quelling the rising costs of health care.
- Forty-two percent of respondents feel that addressing the mounting costs of health care should be a top priority for the winner of the 2016 election.
- More than one-third (35%) are concerned about the future of Medicare.
- Just under one-third (32%) of participants feel that the ACA should be continued or improved, and 28 percent believe that the next president should focus on repealing the ACA altogether.
In addition to the considerable divide amongst caregivers regarding the fate of the Affordable Care Act, improving care for United States veterans (24%) and creating programs for more affordable prescription drugs (22%) are also important to respondents.
Caregivers Weigh In
Participants were also able to write comments expanding upon their answers and reasoning, and an overwhelming number of them provided this additional insight. Many specified that universal or single-payer health care was a large concern and should have been included on the list of issues to choose from. Below are a few other comments made by survey respondents:
“Allow people to choose what they want in a healthcare plan. Don't force them to accept things they don't want or need. Let people choose what plan is best for them, not the government.” –rnmom33
“Many of our seniors are living in poverty—more than you would ever think. They are too proud to ask for assistance and are going without food or medicine to pay their bills. If programs like Medicaid and Social Security are cut, our nation will be in a humanitarian situation like we have not seen before.” –Anonymous
“There should be a focus on caregiving issues. We provide billions of dollars in unpaid care, yet caregiving is never mentioned by candidates. I do not see any GOP candidate that cares about the elderly in a meaningful way, nor do I believe tax credits are helpful for anyone taking care of someone with dementia or other disabling illnesses.” –Cat
“We need free market competition if costs are to be contained. Too much regulation has resulted in higher costs and less individual choices in doctors, medications, treatments and quality of care.” –Anonymous
“We must keep Medicare, Medicaid and Obamacare, as these three programs are the main ways American citizens receive healthcare. To repeal or diminish any of these is another nail in the casket of the poor, and that is neither American nor Christian. We can do better.” –Anonymous
Candidates’ Plans for Health Care
Since seniors and family caregivers have so much at stake in this upcoming election, AgingCare.com has created a tool to assist them in making sense of these divisive issues. This objective guide compares each candidate’s stances on key health care topics based on their statements to the press and in debates, as well as public information available on their campaign websites. It is our hope that neutral information on these crucial matters will help caregivers and seniors make confident long-term decisions for themselves and their country as a whole.
AgingCare.com is the leading resource for family caregivers who are seeking trusted information, one-on-one support, and practical answers to real-life questions. Our community consists of elder care experts, medical professionals and family caregivers who gather to share their experiences and expertise on all topics related to senior care. Our mission is to help families plan for and navigate the care of an aging parent, spouse, or other loved one. AgingCare.com also assists families in finding home care services and senior living arrangements. This service is provided free of charge. For more information, visit www.AgingCare.com.
The Health Care and the 2016 Presidential Election Survey was conducted online March 11, 2016 through March 21, 2016. More than 1,500 people caring for an aging loved one participated in the survey.
Editor in Chief