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Trump Says Clinton Wants Single-Payer Healthcare -- Is He Right?

By Motley Fool Staff – Updated Oct 18, 2016 at 8:04AM

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Replacing the private health insurance market with a single-payer system is highly controversial. However, it's unlikely to happen under a Clinton presidency.

During the second presidential debate last Sunday, Republican candidate Donald Trump said that Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton wants to embrace a single-payer health insurance system that's similar to Europe or Canada. Replacing private insurance with a government-run, single-payer system is highly controversial, but is Trump correct in his claims that such a program is in Clinton's plans?

In this clip from The Motley Fool's Industry Focus: Healthcare podcast, analyst Kristine Harjes is joined by contributor Todd Campbell to fact-check Trump's assertions and provide insight into Clinton's plans for healthcare.

A full transcript follows the video.

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This podcast was recorded on Oct. 12, 2016.

Kristine Harjes: One of the other things that came up in the debate was claimed by Trump that Hillary Clinton wants to go to a single-payer system. Before discussing whether or not that's true, can you give us a little bit of context on what that even means?

Todd Campbell: There was a lot of debate during the primary between Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton on the value or the concept of a Medicare-for-all, where basically you would eliminate the system as it stands today and you open up Medicare so that everyone can participate in Medicare, rather than just people who are over 65. Bernie Sanders advocated for Medicare-for-all. Hillary Clinton did not. But she did concede over the course of the primary to start thinking about possibly expanding Medicare to include more people, perhaps people who are in their 50s, or areas, for example, where insurers like [UnitedHealth Group] have exited, and maybe there's only one choice, or there are no choices in the Obamacare exchanges, perhaps providing people with an option where they can buy into Medicare regardless of their age that way.

Harjes: Great explanation. Thanks, Todd! You also answered the question of whether or not this claim is true. Clinton to has indeed never endorsed a Medicare-for-all system.

Campbell: Yeah, she actually came out earlier in the year and said it's just not something we can do given how vested we are in our current system. It would be too hard to do. So, she has been advocating for changing Obamacare, making it better, recognizing that it has faults and making some tweaks and adjustments along the way. That, of course, is in stark contrast to Trump, who has said that he favors a full repeal of Obamacare and starting from scratch with an entirely new system.

The Motley Fool recommends UnitedHealth Group. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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