On February 5, 2008, ("Super Tuesday") twenty-four states will vote or caucus to determine who will be the official U.S. presidential nominees for the Democratic and Republican parties. With that in mind I would like to present some source material for voters in those states to whom health care is a priority issue.
Health Policy correspondent Julie Rovner and Michele Norris of National Public Radio (NPR) provided an overview of the candidate's positions on yesterday's edition of the popular radio news program, All Things Considered:
Candidates from both parties are proposing fairly far-reaching health plans. But while the Democratic plans would probably cover more of the uninsured, they would change the health care system for most people less than the Republican plans would, and the GOP plans envision a much bigger shift in the way people get their health insurance.For the full breakdown in print as well as a link to listen to the original audio click here.
In the end, it's still back to the same old debate of Democrats pushing a bigger role for government and Republicans more of a role for the free market, Rovner says.
Next stop is CNN.com, where Dr. Sanjay Gupta gives us his own comparison of the positions taken by the candidates. He embraces transparency wholeheartedly by reminding his readership that he was a White House Fellow in Hillary Clinton's office back in 1997 and 1998. While his piece is rather short it does include a link to video of Republican candidates discussing the Clinton and Obama plans as well as a thought-provoking array of comments left by Gupta's readers. He ends his overview by boiling the differences down to a single basic question:
So, which do you think will work? Using the free market and enterprise or expanding existing programs to cover everyone?For a terrific side by side comparison of the proposals on the table interested parties should take a look at the Kaiser Family Foundation's Health08 website where they will find a variety of comparisons along with a nifty tool to generate a custom comparison by picking up to four candidates and clicking the friendly blue button labeled "compare." This guide is extremely useful due to its extensive documentation
This side-by-side comparison of the candidates' positions on health care was prepared by the Kaiser Family Foundation with the assistance of Health Policy Alternatives, Inc. and is based on information appearing on the candidates' websites as supplemented by information from candidate speeches, the campaign debates and news reports. The sources of information are identified for each candidate's summary (with links to the Internet). The comparison highlights information on the candidates' positions related to access to health care coverage, cost containment, improving the quality of care and financing. Information will be updated regularly as the campaign unfolds.Hopefully these tools will provide clarity as the cacophony of "Super Tuesday" campaigning rains down upon us.
SOURCE: "Parsing GOP, Democratic Health Care Proposals" 01/31/08
SOURCE: "Candidate health care plans" 01/31/08
SOURCE: "2008 Presidential Candidate Health Care Proposals: Side By Side Summary"
photo courtesy of ryanjunell, used under this Creative Commons license