Hillary Clinton Just Unveiled a Bold New Healthcare Plan — And Bernie’s Influence is Clear

Hillary Clinton Just Unveiled a Bold New Healthcare Plan — And Bernie’s Influence is Clear
Source: AP
Source: AP

Hillary Clinton posted changes to her healthcare plan on her website Saturday that are likely to excite fans of her progressive rival for the Democratic presidential nomination, Bernie Sanders.

Clinton, who has long supported building and improving upon the key tenets of the Affordable Care Act, announced that her own plan will now include the creation of "public option" within ObamaCare, as well as a provision that would expand Medicare by lowering the age at which people are eligible to enroll in the program to 55.

A public healthcare option would mean the creation of a government-funded insurance plan to compete directly with the for-profit private insurance options in the Affordable Care Act's open marketplace.

The implementation of a public option was initially scheduled for inclusion in President Obama's initial outlines for the Affordable Care Act in 2009, but was scrapped during the painstaking negotiation process during which it proved unpopular among conservative Democrats and the private health insurance industry.

She also proposes increasing mandatory funding for primary care services at community health centers over the next 10 years.

The policy shift, announced by Clinton staffers in a statement on Saturday, is an extension of the candidate's "career-long fight to achieve universal health care coverage for Americans." It also marks her first public embrace of the public option since entering her bid for the White House.

The newly-minted plan also comes three days before a scheduled campaign appearance with Sanders, the Huffington Post notes — a timely release likely intended to shore up support from the voter base of the Vermont senator, who is expected to endorse Clinton during the event.

During a call with reporters, Sanders himself congratulated Clinton for the plan in affirming —  if boilerplate — language calling it "an extremely important initiative" and saying that it will, "save lives, it will ease suffering, it will improve health care in America, and it will cut health care costs."

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