10 things to know about Hillary Clinton's views on healthcare

Hillary Clinton officially announced Sunday she is running for president for the second time in the upcoming 2016 election. Here are 10 things to know about the former first lady, senator of New York and secretary of state's views on healthcare.

1. Ms. Clinton supports the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. On March 23, the fifth anniversary of President Obama's signing of the law, Ms. Clinton tweeted, "#ACA@5: 16m covered. Young ppl. Preexisting conditions. Women get better coverage. Repeal those things? Embrace them!" and a few days earlier she tweeted, "Repeal of the ACA would let insurers write their own rules again, and wipe out coverage for 16 million Americans," firmly supporting the law on Twitter.

In fact, she will likely run on the healthcare reform law. Last June she told PBS NewsHour she thought all Democrats running for Congress in 2014 should support the PPACA, stating, "If I were a Democrat running for reelection in 2014, I would be posing a very stark choice to the voters of my district, or my state. If you want us to go back to the time when your sister with diabetes, or your husband with his heart condition, couldn't get insurance at an affordable rate, then don't vote for me, because I think it's great that your sister and your husband now have insurance."

2. Ms. Clinton has also said she is open to fixing the PPACA. In the same interview with PBS NewsHour last June, Ms. Clinton said, "I think people should say, look, 'We're going to learn more about how [the PPACA is] working, and if there are adjustments that need to be made as we go forward, wouldn't you rather have somebody who wants to keep the good, and fix what's not working, than somebody who wants to undermine it, and maybe throw it out. These are very stark choices."

3. Ms. Clinton has long been a proponent of universal healthcare. Her support for the PPACA is unsurprising, as she has previously led universal healthcare initiatives, perhaps most famously the Health Security Act, which she helped developed as the leader of former President Bill Clinton's Task Force on National Health Reform. The task force, aiming to develop a plan to make sure all Americans had health insurance, developed the Health Security Act in a more than 1,000-page document. The bill included universal coverage for U.S. citizens and permanent residents, with stipulations to limit minimum coverage and maximum out-of-pocket fees. It also included provisions to set up regional alliances that structured competition among health insurance companies and provisions for Medicaid patients. The bill was later defeated in Congress, but became an early career-defining move. Many saw this attempt at healthcare reform as a major failure for Ms. Clinton.

"I learned some valuable lessons about the legislative process, the importance of bipartisan cooperation and the wisdom of taking small steps to get a big job done," Ms. Clinton said in reference to the 1994 defeat of the Health Security Act while addressing the Senate, according to the New York Times.

4. As a Democratic hopeful in the 2008 presidential race, Ms. Clinton also ran on a new and improved universal health plan, called the American Health Choices Plan. This plan offered more choices for the insured and uninsured, limited premiums based on income, tax credits for small businesses and provisions to improve Medicaid and CHIP. It included an "individual mandate," requiring each individual to get coverage — a contended part of the plan, as some believed lower income Americans would be burdened by paying for a health plan, according to The Washington Post. The plan would have cost roughly $110 billion annually, and would have been financed by ending most of the Bush-era tax cuts.

5. Ms. Clinton is a long-time supporter of children's health initiatives. She was instrumental in expanding the State Children's Health Insurance Program, now called CHIP. Sen. Edward M. Kennedy told the Associated Press in 2007, "The children's health program wouldn't be in existence today if we didn't have Hillary pushing for it from the other end of Pennsylvania Avenue," according to FactCheck.org. The 18-year-old plan has provided millions of American children with health insurance coverage since its inception.

6. She also has been a proponent of women's reproductive rights. After the Hobby Lobby ruling in 2014, Ms. Clinton said, "Among those rights is control over their bodies, control over their own health care, control over the size of their families … where women and women's bodies are used as the defining and unifying issue to bring together people — men — to get them to behave in ways that are disadvantageous to women but which prop up them because of their religion, their sect, their tribe, whatever. So to introduce this element into our society… it's very troubling," according to Bustle. She is pro-choice, believes the morning-after pill should be accessible and defends women's rights to have access to full healthcare.

7. While serving in the Senate, she advocated for healthcare for workers at Ground Zero and military reservists. Ms. Clinton became a Senator in 2000, and during her tenure she supported programs that invested in tracking the healthcare of workers who helped clean up the 9/11 site. She also co-sponsored a law to expand healthcare access for military reservists and the National Guard called TRICARE.

8. She has supported requiring an EHR for federal healthcare programs, including Medicare, Medicaid and the Department of Veterans Affairs. At the 2007 SEIU Democratic Health Care Forum in Las Vegas Ms. Clinton supported an interoperable EHR system across federal healthcare. She said, "After Hurricane Katrina I went down to Houston to see the people who had been evacuated, most in them from the convention center. The elderly, the frail. People who were very dependent upon health care, their records were gone. Those 15 pieces of paper were destroyed. And a lot of doctors told me their biggest problem was trying to figure out what prescriptions to give to people. The only people they could help were the people who had shopped at chain drug stores because they had electronic medical records. If we had that for all of our health records, we'd get costs down & we'd have higher quality health care."

9. Her opinion on medical marijuana has changed since her 2007 campaign. Last year, Ms. Clinton said "she doesn't think 'we've done enough research yet' on medical marijuana questions, but said 'there should be availability [of marijuana] under appropriate circumstances,'" according to CNN. This diverges from her 2007 campaign, in which she stated she was against decriminalization of the drug.

10. She is pro-vaccines. Again using Twitter to voice her opinion on issues, Ms. Clinton tweeted on Feb. 3 to her followers, "The science is clear: The earth is round, the sky is blue, and #vaccineswork. Let's protect all our kids. #GrandmothersKnowBest," referring to herself as a grandmother of Charlotte, Chelsea Clinton's young daughter. 

This may also signal a divergence from her earlier views. According to TIME, Ms. Clinton filled out a survey in 2008 from the Autism Action Network and said, "I am committed to make investments to find the causes of autism, including possible environmental causes like vaccines."

 

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