Basic Briefing

The Healthcare Debate

The debate on healthcare is focused on the cost, quality, and access to health insurance. Should people be required to own health insurance? What can be done to increase access to healthcare? How much should the government regulate health insurance companies? Should Medicaid be expanded? Is the Affordable Care Act (ACA) working?

Official Democratic position

“We believe accessible, affordable, high quality healthcare is part of the American promise.” The Democratic Party supports the implementation of the Affordable Care Act. The party additionally wants to continue the expansion of Medicaid and to provide more access to mental health and substance abuse services.

Official Republican position

The Republican Party wants to repeal the Affordable Care Act. “Then the American people, through the free market, can advance affordable and responsible healthcare reform that meets the needs and concerns of patients and providers.”

Institutional framework

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) regulates healthcare at the federal level. Medicare, which provides health coverage for the elderly and disabled, and Tricare, which provides health coverage for active and former members of the armed forces, are federal programs. The federal government and state governments jointly fund and oversee Medicaid, which is for low-income Americans.

State insurance commissioners typically oversee private insurance plans that employers purchase. Private individual plans are overseen by the HHS in federally facilitated marketplaces created under the ACA, or by a marketplace board in state-based marketplaces.

Most Vocal on Healthcare

These are the candidates who focus on this issue the most, with the most liberal on this issue on the left and the most conservative on this issue on the right. Click on the circles to see more information.

Janice Schakowsky | Candidate for 9th Congressional District, 2018 in Illinois (IL) | Crowdpac Mac Thornberry | Candidate for 13th Congressional District, 2018 in Texas (TX) | Crowdpac Charles Boustany | 3rd Congressional District, 2014 in Louisiana (LA) | Crowdpac Bill Cassidy | Candidate for U.S. Senate, 2020 Primary Election in Louisiana (LA) | Crowdpac Allyson Schwartz | Candidate for State House, 13th District, 2018 Primary Election in Pennsylvania (PA) | Crowdpac Michael Burgess | Candidate for 26th Congressional District, 2018 in Texas (TX) | Crowdpac Debbie Stabenow | Candidate for U.S. Senate, 2018 Primary Election in Michigan (MI) | Crowdpac Tammy Baldwin | Candidate for U.S. Senate, 2018 Primary Election in Wisconsin (WI) | Crowdpac Lois Capps | 24th Congressional District, 2014 in California (CA) | Crowdpac Kathleen Dahlkemper |  | Crowdpac

The Spectrum on Healthcare

These are the candidates who are most liberal, most conservative, and most moderate on this specific issue. Click on each candidate to see more information.

Relevant Committees


Association of American Physicians and Surgeons - A politically conservative advocacy group founded in the late 1940s that opposes single-payer healthcare

Families USA - An influential liberal healthcare advocacy organization that has worked to support the implementation of the Affordable Care Act

Kaiser Health News - A subsidiary of the Kaiser Family Foundation that provides coverage of health policy issues and developments