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Report Features Recent Health Care Developments In Presidential Campaigns

Armen Hareyan's picture

Summaries of several recent developments in presidential campaigns related to health care appear below.

  • Former Sen. John Edwards(D-N.C.): Edwards on Sunday at a town hall meeting in Laconia, N.H.,discussed a provision in his health care proposal that would delaydirect-to consumer advertisements for new medications for two years,the AP/Long Island Newsdayreports. In addition, the provision would require ads for newmedications to include more information about their side effects andcomparative effectiveness and would increase penalties forpharmaceutical companies that use misleading ads. According to Edwards,the provision would ensure that "salesmanship is not trumping thefacts, so people learn what the real risks are associated with thesedrugs." He said that pharmaceutical companies currently spend twice asmuch on ads for medications as they spend on research and development.Edwards said, "Basically, they do what they want, and they're drivingup demand for the most expensive and most profitable drugs," adding,"The next president needs to deal with this issue" (Ramer, AP/LongIsland Newsday, 10/28).
  • Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani(R): Giuliani on Monday in New Hampshire began an ad campaign thatincludes a radio ad and a direct-mail piece about his health careproposal targeted at independent voters who "believe firmly in themantra of less government and lower taxes," the Washington Postreports. The radio ad, which refers to his experience with prostatecancer, says that, because he lived in the U.S., he had an 82% chanceof survival, compared with a 44% chance had he lived in Britain. In thead, Giuliani says, "You and I should be making the decisions about whatkind of health care we get with our doctors, not with a governmentbureaucrat." The direct-mail piece says, "Rudy Giuliani's health careplan offers freedom to choose a health plan that fits your needs andthe freedom to keep it if you change jobs." Below the text, a graphicsays that the proposal is not "government-mandated health insurance"and does not require a tax increase (Cillizza/Murray, Washington Post, 10/28).
  • Former Sen. Fred Thompson(R-Tenn.): Thompson has established himself as the "most impassionedcandidate on entitlement spending" and plans to announce a proposal for"entitlement reform in the coming weeks," the Christian Science Monitorreports. Thompson previously has proposed a possible increase in feesfor higher-income Medicare beneficiaries to help address the issue.Last week during a speech to the Club for Growth,he said, "The one thing that all the experts agree on ... is that we'rein an unsustainable position economically with regard to theseprograms," adding, "You'd think that would be the biggest thing wecould talk about, other than national security. So we've got to talkabout it" (Feldmann, Christian Science Monitor, 10/29).

Health Care Industry Contributions Favor Democrats

The New York Timeson Monday examined how the health care industry has made more campaigncontributions to Democratic presidential candidates -- whose healthcare proposals have "caused deep anxiety" to some areas of the industry-- because of a "growing sense that the Democrats are in a strongposition to win the White House next year." In the first nine months of2007, the health care industry has contributed about $11 million tocandidates -- $6.5 million to Democrats and $4.8 million toRepublicans.

Sens. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) and Barack Obama(D-Ill.) and Edwards have announced proposals to expand healthinsurance to all U.S. residents that would place the health careindustry "in the crosshairs," the Times reports. According to the Times,many health care providers disagree with many details of the proposalsbut "endorse the goal of some sort of universal coverage," and many"appreciate the fact" that Democrats are "giving a higher priority tohealth care as a campaign issue."

Mary Nell Lehnhard, senior vice president of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association, said, "As long as the candidates are willing to talk to us, we can educate them."

Phillip Blando, a political strategist, said, "For many people in the industry, these contributions are a defensive measure."

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Kenneth Raske, president of the Greater New York Hospital Association,said, "Everybody in the industry knows that health care reform is onits way, and you have only two decisions: sit on the sidelines or geton the field" (Hernandez/Pear, New York Times, 10/29).


Forty-six percent of U.S. adults who responded to a recent survey conducted by Scripps Howard and Ohio University said that Democrats were more likely to improve access to health care than Republicans, Scripps Howard/Richmond Times-Dispatchreports. The survey, which included responses from 811 adultsnationwide collected from Sept 24. to Oct. 10, has a margin of error ofplus or minus four percentage points.

According to the survey,19% of respondents said that Republicans were more likely to improveaccess to health care than Democrats (Scripps Howard/Richmond Times-Dispatch, 10/29).

Town Hall Meeting

Presidential candidates Sen.