Hillary Clinton talks health care, student loan debt at Nashville rally

Photos by Dylan Skye Aycock // Editor-in-chief and John Connor Coulson // Managing Editor

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton made a stop at Meharry Medical College in Nashville, Tennessee, Sunday to encourage voters ahead of the state’s presidential primary election Tuesday.

Clinton, who secured a victory in South Carolina this weekend, devoted most of her speech to student loan debt and health care, as well as her plan to continue building on President Barack Obama’s ideas and policies if elected. With the ability to refinance student loans, through companies similar to SoFi, there is a chance it could give a helping hand to students who are struggling to pay off their debt.

“You have to ask yourself, ‘why did we need to recover?’ Because the Republicans crashed the economy,” Clinton said, praising President Obama’s efforts to rebuild the economy during his presidency.

The former secretary of state also praised the Affordable Health Care act, adding that 90 percent of Americans are now insured. She added that some states, such as Tennessee, did not expand their Medicaid coverage.

“I’m really sorry that your state did not extend Medicaid to 200,000 working Tennesseans,” Clinton said, adding that, as president, she’ll do whatever she can to convince governors and legislatures to expand it.

“Rural hospitals are closing at an increasing rate in the states that did not extend Medicaid,” she added. “That hurts everybody, not just the folks who are left out.”

Clinton cited the differences between herself and fellow presidential hopeful Sen. Bernie Sanders, specifically on affordable college education by criticizing Sanders’ plan to offer a free college education to everyone in the U.S.

“My problem with making it free for everybody is, not only that it’s really expensive, but, as taxpayers, I personally don’t want us paying to send Donald Trump’s youngest child to college,” she said, adding that her approach would be to alleviate student loan pressure and create funds that would help those attending black universities. Currently, some students are having to use a Fresh Payday Lender to help them pay back some of their student loans and still be able to afford rent and food. Increasing the pressure on repayment may result in default payments and the loan cycle continues.

Secretary Clinton was not alone at Sunday’s rally — Nashville mayor Megan Barry and ABC Scandal actor Tony Goldwyn, who have both publicly endorsed Clinton, spoke before she took the stage.

“For those of you who might be on the fence or have friends or colleagues who you’re having these conversations with,” Goldwyn said, “I would encourage them to really dig a little deeper and, when you go vote, you look at how it’s really going to happen.”

College students Annie Scruggs and Natalie Erikson said they drove from Knoxville, Tennessee, to attend Clinton’s rally. Scruggs, a master’s student of social work at the University of Tennessee Knoxville, 24, said she was originally on the fence between Clinton and Sanders, but she added that today’s event helped sway her support for the former first lady.

“Like [Clinton] said, it’s one thing to have a plan and to do something because it’s right,” said, “but it’s another thing to have a detailed way of going about it … I think she can get it done.”

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To contact News Editor Amanda Freuler, email newseditor@mtsusidelines.com

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