US presidential race issues: Health care

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Election Issues of 2016: Health Care


The Affordable Care Act is one of the cornerstones of President Barack Obama's legacy. And despite the government's positive outlook, it has had to jump through a lot of hoops.

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And the hoops keep on coming.

The sentiment across the GOP presidential platform is the same: When can they repeal or replace the Affordable Care Act?

See photos related to health care:

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2016 issues: Health, Obamacare opinions, Medicare, Abortion
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US presidential race issues: Health care
Opponents and supporters of Planned Parenthood demonstrate Tuesday, July 28, 2015, in Philadelphia. Anti-abortion activists are calling for an end to government funding for the nonprofit reproductive services organization. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)
Anti-abortion activists demonstrate near a Planned Parenthood clinic Tuesday, July 28, 2015, in Philadelphia. The protestors are calling for an end to government funding for the nonprofit reproductive services organization. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)
Kathy Calver listens to a speaker as she and other anti-abortion activists rally on the steps of the Texas Capitol to condemn the use in medical research of tissue samples from aborted fetuses, Tuesday, July 28, 2015, in Austin, Texas. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)
Razor grass and pro-choice signs limit the view of patients entering the Jackson Women's Health Organization clinic in Jackson, Miss., Tuesday, June 30, 2015. Mississippi's only abortion clinic will likely remain open at least until the fall, because the U.S. Supreme Court is taking no action until then on a dispute over a state law that could close it. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)
MANHATTAN, NEW YORK CITY, UNITED STATES - 2015/08/22: Assembly of some 150 anti-abortion protesters behind barricade in front of Planned Parenthood. A coalition of anti-abortion protesters protested on Mott Street in Manhattan in front of Planned Parenthood. (Photo by Andy Katz/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images)
MANHATTAN, NEW YORK CITY, UNITED STATES - 2015/08/22: Protester with Baby Doe sign in front of Planned Parenthood. A coalition of anti-abortion protesters protested on Mott Street in Manhattan in front of Planned Parenthood. (Photo by Andy Katz/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 28: Republican presidential candidate Dr. Ben Carson speaks at a anti-abortion rally opposing federal funding for Planned Parenthood in front of the U.S. Capitol July 28, 2015 in Washington, DC. Planned Parenthood faces mounting criticism amid the release of videos by a pro-life group and demands to vote in the Senate to stop funding. (Photo by Olivier Douliery/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 28: Republican presidential candidate, U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) speaks during a Anti-abortion rally opposing federal funding for Planned Parenthood in front of the U.S. Capitol July 28, 2015 in Washington, DC. Planned Parenthood faces mounting criticism amid the release of videos by a pro-life group and demands to vote in the Senate to stop funding. (Photo by Olivier Douliery/Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - JANUARY 22: Pro-choice protesters chant in front of the Supreme Court on Thursday, Jan. 22, 2015, the anniversary of the Roe v Wade abortion decision. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)
Republican presidential candidate, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, presents his plan to replace Obamacare, during a visit to Cass Screw Machine Products, Tuesday, Aug. 18, 2015, in Brooklyn Center, Minn. (AP Photo/Jim Mone)
UNITED STATES - FEBRUARY 5: Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., testifies during the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing on 'ObamaCare: Why the Need for an Insurance Company Bailout?' on Wednesday, Feb. 5, 2014. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)
Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., second from right, accompanied by Sen. Tammy Baldwin, D-Wisc., left, Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, second from left, and Sen. Bob Casey, D-Pa., right, speaks at a press conference on the positive affects of the Affordable Care Act as the Senate convenes for a Sunday session on Capitol Hill in Washington, Sunday, July 26, 2015. On the Senate's agenda is an effort to repeal President Barack Obama's health care law. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
President Barack Obama talks to a man in the audience as he takes questions at Taylor Stratton Elementary School in Nashville, Tenn., Wednesday, July 1, 2015, where he spoke about the Affordable Care Act. The president said he wants to refocus on improving health care quality, expanding access and rooting out waste now that the Supreme Court has upheld a key element of his health care law. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
Jessica Ellis, right, holds a sign that says "yay 4 ACA," as she and other supporters of the Affordable Care Act react with cheers as the opinion for health care is reported outside of the Supreme Court in Washington, Thursday June 25, 2015, in Washington. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)
Trent Seubert, left, holds a sign stating that 165,000 people would lose healthcare coverage, as the words "lose healthcare" are covered over with a "still covered" sticker outside the Supreme Court in Washington, Thursday, June 25, 2015, after the court decided that the without the Affordable Care Act (ACA) may provide nationwide tax subsidie. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)
FILE - In this Nov. 12, 2014 file photo, the HealthCare.gov website, where people can buy health insurance, is displayed on a laptop screen, in Portland, Ore. The Illinois Hospital Association in cash-strapped Illinois says the state might be able to set up a health insurance exchange at a lower cost by “leasing” the federal government’s technology, an option that could appeal to as many as 34 states where subsides could be jeopardized by an unfavorable Supreme Court ruling. . (AP Photo/Don Ryan, File)
UNITED STATES - JUNE 25: Affordable Care Act supporters hold up signs outside the Supreme Court as they wait for the court's decision on Obamacare on Thursday, June 25, 2015. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)
FILE-- In this Sept. 16, 2013 file photo, Gov. Rick Snyder, center, signs legislation at Oakwood Hospital in Dearborn, Mich. that will make more low-income adults eligible for Medicaid. One year after more low-income adults in Michigan became eligible for Medicaid under the federal health care law, enrollment is skyrocketing near 600,000, well above initial projections. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)
IMAGE DISTRIBUTED FOR AIDS HEALTHCARE FOUNDATION - Over 50 AIDS awareness advocates gather to protest in front of the Employment Development Department spearheaded by AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) on Thursday, March 19, 2015, in Sacramento, Calif. The protest was over Cal/OSHA’s five-year delay in amending and tightening California workplace safety regulations regarding condom use in adult film production to better protect adult film workers. (Steve Yeater/AP Images for AIDS Healthcare Foundation)  
University of Maryland medical student Sarah Britz, center, and others, rally outside the Supreme Court in Washington, Wednesday, March 4, 2015 in Washington, as the court was hearing arguments in King v. Burwell, a major test of President Barack Obama's health overhaul which, if successful, could halt health care premium subsidies in all the states where the federal government runs the insurance marketplaces. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
In this photo taken Feb. 24, 2015, Kimberly Davis holds the medications she now takes to slow the progression of her multiple sclerosis, at her home in Jackson, Miss. The Supreme Court will hear arguments next week over whether millions of people covered by the nation’s health care law can legally continue to get financial help to pay for their insurance. If the court says no, millions of consumers across more than 30 states could lose federal subsidies for their premiums. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)
UNITED STATES - JUNE 25 - Supporters of the Affordable Care Act celebrate as the opinion for health care is reported outside of the Supreme Court in Washington,Thursday June 25, 2015. The Supreme Court on Thursday upheld the nationwide tax subsidies under President Barack Obama's health care overhaul, in a ruling that preserves health insurance for millions of Americans. (Photo By Al Drago/CQ Roll Call)
RICHMOND, CA - MARCH 31: Posters about Obamacare are posted on a window during a healthcare enrollment fair at the Bay Area Rescue Mission on March 31, 2014 in Richmond, California. SEIU-United Healthcare Workers West (SEIU-UHW) held the fair to help people sign up for free and low-cost health coverage through Medi-Cal or Covered California on the final day before the sign-up deadline. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
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"I would repeal it, and replace it with something far better," said Donald Trump.

"There's no question it needs to be replaced before you repeal it," said Ben Carson.

Those critics argue Obamacare isn't doing enough to make health care more affordable.

"I don't believe we should have employer mandates, employee mandates or health care mandates that make health insurance so extraordinarily expensive, " said Jeb Bush in a campaign video.

"We want affordable and accessible health insurance for everyone in America," said Scott Walker.


On the other end of the political spectrum, Hillary Clinton vows to keep Obama's signature health care act afloat.

"We've got to defend the Affordable Care Act."

And Bernie Sanders plans to give it an upgrade.

"Let's pass a cost-effective way to provide universal health care to all of our people," said Sanders.

Affordable health care might be the biggest sticking point among candidates, but it's hardly the only one. Jeb Bush brought the debate to reform entitlement systems, specifically Medicare, back into the campaign. The push for Medicare reform is hardly a surprise, given a report from 2012 that says the program will go broke by 2024.



"We need to figure out a way to phase out this program for others and move to a new system," said Bush.

And other GOP candidates say something must be done, too.

"We need to save Medicare, not simply delay its bankruptcy," said Marco Rubio.

"Medicare, we have to take care of you," said Donald Trump.

And on the eve of Medicare turning 50, Democrats rejected the notion to reform.

"Today, we're often told that Medicare and Medicaid are in crisis. But that's usually a political excuse to cut their funding, privatize them or phase them out entirely," said Obama.

"We need to move to a Medicare for all, single-payer system," said Bernie Sanders.

When it comes to health care, there really isn't a more polarizing topic than abortion. And this time around, the friction centers around defunding Planned Parenthood.

The discussion picked up when anti-abortion group the Center for Medical Progress published videos allegedly showing Planned Parenthood executives discussing the illegal sale of fetal body parts.
And since then, defunding Planned Parenthood has been the main focus for the anti-abortion movement and GOP presidential candidates.

"The time has come to end all taxpayer funding for Planned Parenthood," said Rand Paul.

"This has nothing to do with whether you are pro-choice and pro-life; this has to do with the moral foundation of our nation," said Carly Fiorina.

"We need to defund Planned Parenthood," said Ted Cruz.

And as lawmaker threats to defund Planned Parenthood rise, Democratic candidates are defending the group's importance for women's health.

"If this feels like a full-on assault on women's health, that's because it is," said Hillary Clinton.

"It is improper for the United States government or state government to tell every woman in this country the very painful and difficult choice that she has to make on that issue," said Sanders.

What's clear is, on the topic of health care, the debate is centered around funding. Candidates are arguing over what does and doesn't deserve government money.
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