Editorial Discusses Presidential Candidates' Health Care Proposals

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Summaries of an editorial and several opinion pieces looking athealth care proposals put forward by presidential candidates appearbelow.

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Editorial

  • Houston Chronicle:Of all the candidates' health care plans, those that "build on thesuccesses of the private health insurance market and mend the cracks ofits failures" are the "most intriguing" and "possibly the mostpragmatic," according to a Chronicle editorial. "Ifrealized," such a plan "would accomplish a return to an insurancemarket that does not discriminate by age, health status or otherfactors," the editorial states. "Difficult though it may be, reformersin the upcoming battle must keep all stakeholders engaged in the effortto find a workable compromise," the Chronicle says, concluding, "In the case of the insurance industry, they must put a premium on it" (Houston Chronicle, 9/25).

Opinion Pieces

  • Marie Cocco, Bergen Herald-News:The "hubbub over Hillary Clinton's health insurance plan hastemporarily subsided," and "that silence you hear is the sound ofRepublican presidential candidates offering their own alternatives tofinally cover all of the country's 47 million uninsured men, women andchildren," syndicated columnist Cocco writes in a Herald-Newsopinion piece. "Basically, the emerging Republican idea about healthinsurance is the same as the party's idea about everything else: Takeany problem that is large and complex and solve it with a tax cut," shewrites, adding, "In essence, the GOP would do away with theemployer-based system of health insurance and put in its place a systemof tax breaks for individuals who would then supposedly have enoughmoney -- and negotiating skills -- to buy their own coverage and get abetter deal from the insurance industry." Such proposals would "fail toexpand coverage" and likely would "make those who do have it worse offthan they are now," Cocco concludes (Cocco, Bergen Herald-News, 9/27).
  • Quentin Young/Don McCanne, Chicago Tribune:"Many will try to contrast the differences" in proposals fromDemocratic and Republican candidates, but they are "all basically thesame" because every candidate has "made the protection and enhancementof the private insurance plans a higher priority than patients,"Quentin Young, national health coordinator for Physicians for a National Health Program, and Don McCanne, the group's senior health policy fellow, write in the Tribune.The authors support "a single-payer national health insurance system[that] would bring quality care to all Americans at a cost we canafford," they write. Young and McCanne conclude, "With the rightpresidential leadership," such a system "could end the national shameof our health care crisis" (Young/McCanne, Chicago Tribune, 9/26).
  • Samantha Rosman/James Hubbard, Des Moines Register: The American Medical Association's recently announced three-year Voice for the Uninsuredcampaign is "aimed at putting an end to the heavy burden that beinguninsured is creating for too many hard-working American families,"Susan Rosman, a member of AMA's board of trustees, and James Hubbard,president of the Iowa Medical Society's board of directors, write in a Registeropinion piece. AMA encourages voters to ask candidates about their"views on ensuring health care coverage for all Americans," the authorswrite. According to Rosman and Hubbard, health care is "an issue thataffects each and every one of us regardless of party affiliation" and"deserves more than sound bites from the candidates. It demandsmeaningful and thoughtful discussion." They conclude, "The entirenation is listening" (Rosman/Hubbard, Des Moines Register, 9/26).
  • Don Erler, Fort Worth Star-Telegram:Clinton's "relatively moderate" health care plan is "the best of themajor Democratic plans" and "can become even better by incorporatingsome common sense," according to a Star-Telegram opinion piece by General Building MaintenancePresident Don Erler. "Most important is the need to require everyone toexpend personal funds for at least part of medical care" becauseputting "individuals in charge of health care dollars promotesefficiency and economy," Erler writes, adding that insurers should"sell their plans in all states and ... offer everything from Model Tto Lexus policies." He concludes, "Universal care is coming. Itshallmark should be choice" (Erler, Fort Worth Star-Telegram, 9/25).
  • Richard Miller, Wall Street Journal:Presidential candidates in recent months have debated "possible changesto America's health care system," and "one thing is clear -- there willbe greater emphasis on patient choice" -- a "welcome debate, asAmericans currently are prevented from making ... the health caredecisions that would best serve them," Miller, president and CEO of Pharmacyclics and an adjunct professor of oncology at Stanford University Medical Center, writes in a Wall Street Journalopinion piece. According to Miller, the proposals "all seek to spurgreater patient choice of insurers, doctors and potential treatments,"but "our choices are not only constrained by limited insuranceoptions." He adds, "Patient choice is also severely compromised by alack of comparative performance data on individual physicians,hospitals, clinics and treatments. And in many life or deathsituations, where treatment options exist but carry some risk, the FDA and courts are denying patients the right to choose altogether" (Miller, Wall Street Journal, 9/27).

Reprinted with permission from kaisernetwork.org. Youcan view the entire Kaiser DailyHealth Policy Report, search the archives, and sign up for email deliveryat kaisernetwork.org/email. The Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report is published for kaisernetwork.org, afree service of The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation.

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