Donald Trump: Get off this question.
Hillary Clinton: OK, Donald. I know you’re into big diversion tonight, anything to avoid talking about your campaign and the way it’s exploding and the way Republicans are leaving you. But let’s at least focus…
Donald Trump: Let’s see what happens…
Anderson Cooper: Allow her to respond.
Hillary Clinton: … on some of the issues that people care about tonight. Let’s get to their questions.
Anderson Cooper: We have a question here from Ken Karpowicz. He has a question about health care. Ken?
Donald Trump: I’d like to know, Anderson, why aren’t you bringing up the e-mails? I’d like to know. Why aren’t you bringing…
Anderson Cooper: We brought up the e-mails.
Donald Trump: No, it hasn’t. It hasn’t. And it hasn’t been finished at all.
Anderson Cooper: Ken Karpowicz has a question.
Donald Trump: It’s nice to — one on three.
Audience Question: Thank you. Affordable Care Act, known as Obamacare, it is not affordable. Premiums have gone up. Deductibles have gone up. Copays have gone up. Prescriptions have gone up. And the coverage has gone down. What will you do to bring the cost down and make coverage better?
Anderson Cooper: That first one goes to Secretary Clinton, because you started out the last one to the audience.
Hillary Clinton: If he wants to start, he can start. No, go ahead, Donald.
Donald Trump: No, I’m a gentleman, Hillary. Go ahead.
Anderson Cooper: Secretary Clinton?
Hillary Clinton: Well, I think Donald was about to say he’s going to solve it by repealing it and getting rid of the Affordable Care Act. And I’m going to fix it, because I agree with you. Premiums have gotten too high. Copays, deductibles, prescription drug costs, and I’ve laid out a series of actions that we can take to try to get those costs down.
But here’s what I don’t want people to forget when we’re talking about reining in the costs, which has to be the highest priority of the next president. When the Affordable Care Act passed, it wasn’t just that 20 million people got insurance who didn’t have it before. But that in and of itself was a good thing. I meet these people all the time, and they tell me what a difference having that insurance meant to them and their families.
But everybody else, the 170 million of us who get health insurance through our employers got big benefits. Number one, insurance companies can’t deny you coverage because of a pre-existing condition. Number two, no lifetime limits, which is a big deal if you have serious health problems. Number three, women can’t be charged more than men for our health insurance, which is the way it used to be before the Affordable Care Act. Number four, if you’re under 26, and your parents have a policy, you can be on that policy until the age of 26, something that didn’t happen before.
So I want very much to save what works and is good about the Affordable Care Act. But we’ve got to get costs down. We’ve got to provide some additional help to small businesses so that they can afford to provide health insurance. But if we repeal it, as Donald has proposed, and start over again, all of those benefits I just mentioned are lost to everybody, not just people who get their health insurance on the exchange. And then we would have to start all over again. Right now, we are at 90% health insurance coverage. That’s the highest we’ve ever been in our country.
Anderson Cooper: Secretary Clinton, your time is up.
Hillary Clinton: So I want us to get to a 100%, but get costs down and keep quality up.
Anderson Cooper: Mr. Trump, you have two minutes.
Donald Trump: It is such a great question and it’s maybe the question I get almost more than anything else, outside of defense. Obamacare is a disaster. You know it. We all know it. It’s going up at numbers that nobody’s ever seen worldwide. Nobody’s ever seen numbers like this for health care. It’s only getting worse. In ’17, it implodes by itself. Their method of fixing it is to go back and ask Congress for more money, more and more money. We have right now almost $20 trillion in debt. Obamacare will never work. It’s very bad, very bad health insurance. Far too expensive. And not only expensive for the person that has it, unbelievably expensive for our country. It’s going to be one of the biggest line items very shortly.
We have to repeal it and replace it with something absolutely much less expensive and something that works, where your plan can actually be tailored. We have to get rid of the lines around the state, artificial lines, where we stop insurance companies from coming in and competing, because they want — and President Obama and whoever was working on it — they want to leave those lines, because that gives the insurance companies essentially monopolies. We want competition.
You will have the finest health care plan there is. She wants to go to a single-payer plan, which would be a disaster, somewhat similar to Canada. And if you haven’t noticed the Canadians, when they need a big operation, when something happens, they come into the United States in many cases because their system is so slow. It’s catastrophic in certain ways.
But she wants to go to single payer, which means the government basically rules everything. Hillary Clinton has been after this for years. Obamacare was the first step. Obamacare is a total disaster. And not only are your rates going up by numbers that nobody’s ever believed, but your deductibles are going up, so that unless you get hit by a truck, you’re never going to be able to use it.
Anderson Cooper: Mr. Trump, your time…
Donald Trump: It is a disastrous plan, and it has to be repealed and replaced.
Anderson Cooper: Secretary Clinton, let me follow up with you. Your husband called Obamacare, quote, “the craziest thing in the world,” saying that small-business owners are getting killed as premiums double, coverage is cut in half. Was he mistaken or was the mistake simply telling the truth?
Hillary Clinton: No, I mean, he clarified what he meant. And it’s very clear. Look, we are in a situation in our country where if we were to start all over again, we might come up with a different system. But we have an employer-based system. That’s where the vast majority of people get their health care.
And the Affordable Care Act was meant to try to fill the gap between people who were too poor and couldn’t put together any resources to afford health care, namely people on Medicaid. Obviously, Medicare, which is a single-payer system, which takes care of our elderly and does a great job doing it, by the way, and then all of the people who were employed, but people who were working but didn’t have the money to afford insurance and didn’t have anybody, an employer or anybody else, to help them. That was the slot that the Obamacare approach was to take. And like I say, 20 million people now have health insurance. So if we just rip it up and throw it away, what Donald’s not telling you is we just turn it back to the insurance companies the way it used to be, and that means the insurance companies…