Key 2016 Election Issues: Health Care Reform
The second issue that's out there that we wanted to talk about quickly is health care reform, or the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, or whatever name everybody's referring to it. We know this is a really significant area of interest for our clients.
Our latest survey, this was actually the top area. 77% of the people that were actually polled listed this is as a significant area of interest. And again, an area that there's pretty significant, clear differences between the two candidates.
Hillary's been very clear that she's a big supporter of the Affordable Care Act, and intends to protect it, and maybe even expand it. One of the things that she's been increasingly talking about is the creation of a public option where the government would actually provide or create a health care program that could compete against private options. One of the things that's been noted that may be holding Affordable Care Act back a bit is that there's not a lot of price competition between some of the options.
So Hillary feels very strongly that a public option would help precipitate that activity, and the competition would be very beneficial in terms of taking some of the premium costs down. She's really looking at expanding Medicaid, dropping the Medicaid eligibility age down to 55, and really looking at things like increasing access to community health, and better health in rural areas, and so forth. So really focused on keeping Obamacare healthy and moving forward.
Trump's got a very different perspective. He's really been very straightforward about wanting to repeal and replace Obamacare, and is much more focused on talking about getting to a free market situation, which he thinks will lower health care and costs, and make it much more affordable and accessible to folks. He's really looking at doing things like make it easier for the drug companies to get new prescriptions and new drugs out there. And he really would like to make it easier for insurance companies to sell insurance across state lines, which often they can't do now.
He would really like to be able to take the Medicare program that's really out there now, and get it out to the states, basically just give a block grant to the states, and have them administer Medicare at the state level, which would potentially decrease cost significantly. So he's really looking at a lot of things that would drive costs down outside of a big formal federal program. So again really, really significant differences.
The other thing he's very favor of is to take away some of the current restrictions on health savings accounts, which again are, before the onset of the Affordable Care Act, were very, very favored program that we're becoming much more popular, that with the advent of Obamacare has kind of become less popular. Trump would really try to play up that as an option. We get asked a lot like, how quickly will some of these changes come into play. There are some, again, tweaks around the edges on Affordable Care Act, and they do get some degree of legislative support. They could go through relatively quickly, but by and large, any changes in this area would be relatively significant and would not be immediate-type things.
They'd need congressional approval, or some pretty substantive changes with the insurance carrier community, and so forth. So it would be, again, something that an employer would want to keep their eye on, especially as some of the planning for benefits, providing benefits and health care, is a very extended one and a very strategic one for some businesses. And we have a lot of internal discussion around what some of these changes might mean in terms of having to amend our product's sack.
So I think we'd be suited to make sure that as changes occur, whether it's changes or tweaks to the Affordable Care Act, or if there's different ways, that employers would acquire and distribute insurance to their employees. We're also well-suited on that. Some of the health care reform requirements are based on payroll—how many employees you have, how many hours they work, how many full-time employees you have. So we have the ability to use some of the peril information we have on your business. We've got a lot of ability and a lot of flexibility to offer products and services that will meet whatever comes down the pike.
Key 2016 Election Issues