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Clinton Outlines Plans for Health Care in a Leading Medical Journal

hillary clinton, clinton, 2016 election
Hillary Clinton at a rally in Ohio in June, 2016. (Image credit: Evan El-Amin |

Hillary Clinton's plan for improving U.S. health care is outlined in a leading medical journal today, and in her plan the candidate describes her goals to reduce prescription drug costs and spur more basic research into diseases.

"As President, I will fight for every American to have access to affordable, quality health care — regardless of their ZIP Code, income, or medical history," the Democratic presidential nominee wrote today (Sept. 28) in the New England Journal of Medicine. [Democratic Party Platform: We Fact-Checked the Science]

The journal published the commentary as an opinion piece. Editors at the journal invited both Clinton and her opponent, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, to answer questions about their plans to improve U.S. health care, but only Clinton responded, the editors said. [Republican Party Platform: We Fact-Checked the Science]

In the commentary, Clinton says she has four big goals for U.S. health care. These include:

Improving the Affordable Care Act (ACA): Although Clinton praised the ACA for helping to increase the number of Americans who have health insurance, she also wrote that she will "build on the progress" of the law. She said work is needed to increase the coverage of Medicaid in the 19 states that have so far refused to expand their Medicaid coverage, which leaves 3 million Americans without insurance.

She also said there should be a "public option" in the ACA, meaning a government-run insurance plan. Clinton wants this option made available in every state, and she said it would compete in the insurance marketplace alongside private plans to give Americans more insurance choices.

Making health care more affordable: Citing rising out-of-pocket drug costs for Americans, Clinton said she will work to lower costs. One way to do this, she said, is to allow for more competition in the market "by streamlining approval of high-quality biosimilar and generic drugs." Clinton also said she plans to create a new team "charged with identifying excessive price spikes in long-standing, life-saving treatments, and give them effective new tools to respond."

Although Clinton did not mention it directly, she could have been referring to a recent rise in the price of the EpiPen, which treats life-threatening allergic reactions. The company that makes EpiPens garnered controversy recently when it was reported that the price of the drug rose dramatically in recent years.

Making health care less fragmented: Clinton advocated for a health care system that "treats the whole patient" and "reaches every American community."  She said there should be efforts to form partnerships between public health departments, health care systems and community-based organizations. She stressed that mental health care should be incorporated with all other aspects of patient care, and that efforts should be made to "ensure that mental health care is not siloed."

Investing in basic research: Clinton said she will increase funding for biomedical research for all diseases, and that she will make specific investments for researchers to study diseases such as Alzheimer's disease and HIV/AIDS. "Encouraging the next generation of health innovation and entrepreneurship will help Americans lead longer, healthier lives," she said.

This isn't the first time an article by Clinton has been published in the New England Journal of Medicine. In 2006, she co-wrote an opinion piece with then-Sen. Barack Obama, on improving patient safety.

President Obama made headlines earlier this year when he published a complete academic paper in the journal JAMA.

Original article on Live Science.

Rachael Rettner
Rachael has been with Live Science since 2010. She has a masters degree in journalism from New York University's Science, Health and Environmental Reporting Program. She also holds a Bachelor of Science in molecular biology and a Master of Science in biology from the University of California, San Diego.