Presidential Candidates Discuss Health Care System Change At Iowa State

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Five Republican presidential candidates onFriday during a forum at the Iowa State Fair discussed issues relatedto health care, the Des Moines Register reports. Divided We Fail, a campaign launched by AARPand other groups that seeks to focus the 2008 presidential election onhealth care and financial security issues, sponsored the forum.

During the forum, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabeesaid that health care is a "national security issue," adding that"costs are rising at a runaway rate that we can't sustain." Huckabeeattributed increased health care costs to treatment of chronic diseasescaused by smoking, unhealthy diet and lack of exercise. "We shouldreward healthy people for the choices they make," he said.

Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romneydiscussed his efforts to enact a state law that requires residents toobtain health insurance with cooperation among Democrats, Republicansand the insurance industry. He added, "It doesn't make sense to have 45million people in a country like ours" who lack health insurance.

Rep. Duncan Hunter(Calif.) said that he supports increased competition and choice inhealth care, rather than expansion of public programs. Hunter alsocriticized benefits requirements for private health plans.

According to former HHS Secretary and Wisconsin Gov. Tommy Thompson,the health care system must focus more on preventive care. He said,"Only 10% of the money is spent to keep you out of the hospital and outof the nursing home. Isn't that a little goofy?" (Roos, Des Moines Register, 8/11).

Thompson Withdraws From Race After Straw Poll

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In related news, Thompson on Sunday announced his withdrawal from therace for the Republican presidential nomination after he finished sixthin a straw poll in Ames, Iowa. He said, "I felt my record as governorof Wisconsin and Secretary of HHS gave me the experience I needed toserve as president, but I respect the decision of the voters"(Cillizza, Washington Post, 8/13).

Romneywon the straw poll with 4,416 votes, followed by Huckabee with 2,587votes and Republican presidential candidate Sen. Sam Brownback (Kan.)with 2,192 votes (Glover, AP/Forbes, 8/11).

Edwards Discusses Health Care in Las Vegas

Democratic presidential candidate and former Sen. John Edwards (N.C.) on Friday discussed health care and other issues during two appearances in Las Vegas, the Las Vegas Sun reports. During appearances before the Laborer's International Union of North America Local 872 and the Culinary Union, Edwards promoted his health insurance proposal.

Inaddition, Edwards said that he would increase efforts to ensure thesafety of imported foods, medications and other products. He said, "Wehave to do what is necessary to keep the country safe. We need moreinspections. We need a president who thinks about American workers andthe safety of our families and children."

Democratic presidential candidates Sens. Hillary Rodham Clinton (N.Y.) and Barack Obama (Ill.) last week also made appearances before the Culinary Union (Kanigher, Las Vegas Sun, 8/11).

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Reprinted with permission fromkaisernetwork.org.You can view the entire KaiserDaily Health Policy Report, search the archives, andsign up for email delivery at kaisernetwork.org/email. The Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report is published forkaisernetwork.org,a free service of The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation.

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