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Republican Presidential Candidates Discuss Health Care Issues

Armen Hareyan's picture

Nine Republican presidential candidates onTuesday during a debate in Dearborn, Mich., that focused on economicissues discussedsome health care concerns, the Wall Street Journal reports. Sen. John McCain (Ariz.), Rep. Tom Tancredo (Colo.) and former Sen. Fred Thompson (Tenn.) all called for reductions in spending on Medicare and other entitlement programs.

Accordingto Thompson, entitlement programs are "the foremost challenge facingour country economically." He added, "We are spending money we do nothave" (Calmes/Schatz, Wall Street Journal, 10/10). In addition, Thompson said, "We're eating our seed corn" and "pitting one generation against the next" (Nitkin, Baltimore Sun, 10/10).

McCain said that President Bush acted properlywith his recent veto of legislation to reauthorize and expand SCHIP. "We've got to get wasteful spending under control," McCain said (Sidoti, AP/Philadelphia Inquirer,10/10). In reference to a provision in the bill that would increase thefederal cigarette tax by 61 cents per pack to fund the SCHIP expansion,McCain said, "So we want to take care of children's health and we wanteverybody to smoke? I don't get it" (Issenberg, Boston Globe, 10/10).

Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee said that Bush did not approach his veto of the legislation "the rightway." Huckabee said that he would have offered a compromise before hevetoed the legislation (Dinan, Washington Times, 10/10).

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Criticism of Clinton Health Care Proposal

The candidates also discussed aproposal to expand health insurance to all U.S. residents recently announced by Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.).

Former MassachusettsGov. Mitt Romney said, "HillaryCare is: Government gets in and tells people what to dofrom the federal government's standpoint." He added, "The way weimprove something is not by putting more government into it"(Shear/Balz, Washington Post,10/10). Romney also criticized a provision in the proposal that wouldrequire all residents to obtain health insurance, although a law thathe recently helped enact in Massachusetts includes a similar mandate.

Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani said, "If we have HillaryCare, Canadians will have no place to go for their health care" (Saltonstall, New York Daily News, 10/10). The debate -- sponsored by MSNBC, CNBC and the Wall Street Journal and moderated by "Hardball" host Chris Matthews and CNBC anchor Maria Bartiromo -- also featured Sen. Sam Brownback (Kan.) and Reps. Ron Paul (Texas) and Duncan Hunter (Calif.) (Washington Post, 10/10).

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.