By Robert Lowes
WebMD Health News
Latest MedicineNet News
Oct. 10, 2016 -- Democrat Hillary Clinton said she would "save what works" about the Affordable Care Act and tame its rising costs, while Republican Donald Trump promised to repeal the health care reform law, known as Obamacare, and let free-market forces cure the nation's health care system.
The candidates' remarks came during the second presidential debate, held at Washington University in St. Louis.
That was one of the more traditional exchanges during the fiery debate Sunday night.
Both candidates hewed to their previously stated positions on health care.
Clinton agreed with a questioner in the audience that premiums and deductibles for Affordable Care Act exchange plans were getting too high. She touted her plan to make the plans more affordable, but she warned that repealing the health care reform law would bring back the days of insurers denying coverage to people with pre-existing conditions, and charging women higher premiums than men.
"Let's fix what's broken about [the Affordable Care Act], but let's not throw it away and give it back to the insurance companies," she said.
For his part, Trump called the health care reform law "a total disaster," citing premium increases of roughly 70%. The fact-checking website PolitiFact called that half-true, because while some plans are raising rates that much, estimates for the national average range from 4.4% to 13%.
A less expensive approach to making insurance coverage more affordable, Trump said, would be letting insurers sell policies across state lines.
"When we get rid of those lines, you have competition, and we'll be able to keep pre-existing conditions and help people that ... don't have money because we are going to have people protected," he said. Giving states block grants for Medicaid -- a policy supported by congressional Republicans -- would provide for the financially strapped, Trump said.
The real estate developer and reality TV star also said his opponent favored a single-payer health care system "somewhat similar to Canada."
"Hillary Clinton has been after this for years," he said. "Obamacare was the first step."
PolitiFact said that claim is inaccurate. "Clinton ... has consistently resisted a single-payer system," the website states.
PolitiFact did not dispute any of Clinton's assertions about the Affordable Care Act.
The final presidential debate is scheduled for October 19.
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