Part 2: Where Presidential Candidates Stand on Medicaid and Veterans Issues

Q. I am having a hard time following where the candidates stand on Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid. I watched all the debates so far, and typically vote based on the person, not the party. If you know more about their stances on these issues, can you provide an apples-to-apples view on where they all stand, so I can make an informed decision. Thanks very much for your help!

A. When it comes to Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid, there are clear differences between the Democratic and Republican candidates. Medicaid, in particular, has been an ongoing topic of debate in the 2016 Presidential campaign. Veteran’s issues are also important to many of us, and have been addressed by the candidates in debates, interviews, news articles, and more. Last week, we looked at the candidate’s views on Medicare, the Affordable Care Act, and Social Security. Today, we will examine the positions taken by the leading 2016 presidential candidates on Medicaid and Veteran’s issues, using the chart below. Again, for Republicans, we will focus on the top 4 candidates, based on the most recent polls. Information in the chart is derived from, various articles for which I provided the links, and candidate’s websites.


Hillary Clinton


Bernie Sanders
Sanders says, “Don’t Cut Medicaid.” Watch his video here.



Donald Trump
Notably, Trump is the only republican candidate who vows to expand economic growth enough that cuts in Medicaid will be unnecessary. Trump discusses Medicaid in his announcement speech in Time magazine.

In a USA Today op-ed, Trump said his “record of veteran support is well-documented. I served as co-chairman of the New York Vietnam Veterans Memorial Commission and was responsible, with a small group, for getting it built.”Leader of New York Veterans Group Defends Donald Trump 

ABC News – Jul 20, 2015 

According to Trump, “(d)uring my entire business career, I have always made supporting Veterans a top priority because our heroes deserve the very best for defending our freedom,” Trump said in a statement on Sunday, pointing to his work on a veterans memorial and as grand marshal of the New York City Veterans’ Day Parade.” Trump Could Bump GOP Veterans Off Debate Stage 

WGBH NEWS – Jul 21, 2015

Ben Carson
Ben Carson said, “More freedom and less government in our healthcare system will mean lower costs, more access, and continued innovation. Read more on his website.

According to Carson, “(a)s president, I will direct a fundamental transformation in how we care for and empower Veterans across America, including reforming the Veterans Administration (VA). With our current unprecedented level of American support for better Veterans health care, military transition, education and employment, we will make great strides together.” –Dec 30, 2015 

Ben Carson told WMAL’s ‘Drive at Five Show’ in Washington, D.C. following VA Secretary Shinseki’s resignation that the greatest problem with the VA system is ‘too many layers of bureaucrats.’ […] ‘The real issue is that you got to get all that bureaucracy out of there and quite frankly, do we even need that system for most of our veterans? Why can they not be served at the local hospitals where they live and not have to drive 50 or a 100 miles to get a to a veterans facility? These are honored people in our society. They should be welcomed at any of our facilities and we should be honored to take care of them.’” [Daily Caller, 5/30/14]

Ted Cruz
Cruz said, “And one of the things about Medicaid–if you look at the health outcomes on Medicaid, health outcomes are markedly worse when people get on Medicaid. Medicaid is not performing well. And, in fact, people’s life expectancy goes down on Medicaid. It is markedly worse.” Read more in Katie Couric’s interview with Ted Cruz.

Cruz said on Veterans’ Day that “if elected president, he would hold the US Department of Veterans Affairs and its employees accountable for “falsely denying care” and “anyone criminally liable will be prosecuted.”   

Cruz specifically criticized Clinton for saying in an interview  that problems at the VA were not “as widespread as it has been made out to be.”

Marco Rubio
Rubio believes we must “move Medicaid into a per-capita cap system, preserving funding for Medicaid’s unique populations, while freeing states from Washington mandates.” Read more on his website.  

According to Rubio, “(u)nfortunately today we have a VA that does not do enough for (veterans)” Here’s Everything Feds Need to Know About Thursday’s GOP Debates
Government Executive – Aug 6, 2015 
Rubio said, “(w)e need to have a VA that is more interested in the welfare and security of our veterans than in the job security of federal employees,” Rubio said.Presidential Hopeful Says It Should Be Easier to Fire All Feds
Government Executive – Oct 20, 2015 

I hope you find this and the first part of our series to be helpful! We will continue to keep our readers updated, as the presidential campaign heats up and the candidates continue to refine their positions about these issues. 

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