Friday, October 12, 2007

Taking The Pulse: A Political Check Up

It has become an axiom that health care in the United States needs a drastic overhaul, hence this blog (among many others) and its companion, George C. Halvorson's book, Health Care Reform Now!. According to surveys, health care reform is one issue that unites the vast majority of Americans regardless of ideology. How to implement that needed reform remains a major point of contention .

As we end this week on the Health Care Reform Now! blog, it occurs to me that our readers might appreciate some resources for comparing the various politicians and Presidential candidates on the issue of our health care system.

First of all, the New York Times offers up their "Presidential Candidates on Health Care" page where all the candidates are presented with both their proposal to expand coverage and how they intend to pay for it. Very nicely laid out and accessible, the content here is presented in the candidate's own words with links back to the debates and news articles from which they were drawn.

Farhana Hossain, a New York Times blogger, sums up the page nicely in its introduction:

Presidential candidates in both parties are promising to overhaul the nation's health care system and cover more - if not all - of the nation's uninsured. In 2005, 44.8 million people - 15.3 percent of the population - were without health insurance, according to estimates released by the Census Bureau in March. The leading Democrats are competing among themselves over who has the better plan to control costs and approach universal coverage. The Republicans, for the most part, are promising to expand coverage without increasing the role of the federal government, and reduce cost through tax incentives. Most of the candidates have not presented a detailed outline of their health care plans, but here is what they have said so far.

Another useful page for comparing our leaders on the subject is located at On The Issues, a site that attempts to track "every political leader on every issue." Their Health Care page contains a wealth of information delivered in simple bullet pointed lists. What makes this a very different resource from the New York Times page is the fact that it does not solely focus on Presidential hopefuls, instead trying to track the position and records of everyone currently in office.

To give a brief example, let us look at a name that has been far from the spotlight recently, Newt Gingrich. Here is the text of his entry on the Health Care page:

Newt Gingrich on Health Care

Former Republican Representative (GA-6) and Speaker of the House

Click here for 6 full quotes by Newt Gingrich OR click here for Newt Gingrich on other issues.

  • Medicare opt-in to private health savings accounts. (Dec 2006)

  • Focus 21st Century Intelligent Health System on individuals. (Dec 2006)

  • Market competition yields more health choice at lower prices. (Dec 2006)

  • Save dollars and save lives--so transform urgently. (Sep 2003)

  • Focus on prevention; would save $14B with diabetes. (Jul 1998)

  • Ongoing battle against liberals nationalizing healthcare. (Jul 1998)

The modern voter has a plethora of new tools available with which to inform him/herself, aggregate information pages like these being a terrific example. With a subject as important as health care reform, having all the data can be crucial to making a correct decision.

SOURCE: "The Presidential Candidates on Health Care" ONGOING UPDATES
photo courtesy of b-may on Flickr, used under its Creative Commons license


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