Clinton Most Trusted On Health Care

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Democraticvoters in New Hampshire trust Sen. HillaryRodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) the most among Democratic presidential candidates toaddress health care, according to a recent Washington Post/ABCNews poll, the Post reports. For the poll, researchersconducted telephone interviews of a random sample of 592 New Hampshire residents likely to vote inthe Democratic primary. The poll has a margin of error of plus or minus fourpercentage points, with higher margins of error for subgroups of respondents.

According to the poll, Clintonhas a 23% lead over other Democratic candidates as the most trusted to addresshealth care. About half of respondents cited health care as either their mostor second-most important issue of the presidential election, the poll found.

Overall, 35% of respondents indicated that they would vote for Clinton, comparedwith 29% for Sen. Barack Obama (Ill.), 17% for former Sen. John Edwards (N.C.),10% for New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson and 3% or less for other Democraticcandidates, according to the poll (Balz/Cohen, Washington Post, 12/6).

Health Care Debate

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The Economist this week examined how presidential candidateshave offered voters "clear choices" on health care.

According to the Economist, among Democratic candidates, healthcare "has become a lively battleground in the increasingly edgy war"between Clinton and Obama. Obama has questioned the effectiveness of arequirement in her health care proposal that all U.S. residents obtain healthinsurance.

Republican candidates focus more on proposals to reduce health care costs,which many voters consider a "bigger problem" than the issue of theuninsured, but in general they have not made health as high of a priority asDemocrats, the Economist reports (Economist, 12/6).

Opinion Pieces

  • James Jaffe, Chicago Tribune: Presidential candidates from both parties are "barking up the wrong tree" when they maintain that "we can reform the nation's health system by increasing the number of Americans with insurance," Jaffe, vice president of the Center for the Advancement of Health, writes in a Tribune opinion piece. According to Jaffe, although candidates "equate an insured population with a healthy one that receives good and appropriate medical care when it is needed," many "insured patients aren't getting exactly what they need." He writes, "If providing universal and appropriate care is a national priority, we ought to consider a really radical solution like having our government provide each of us with the care we need," adding, "Those who want more could buy it ... albeit without the tax subsidies built into our system." Jaffe writes, "Marginal tinkering with the existing system ... can help some who are medically disadvantaged," adding, "But it will no more solve the underlying problems than the complex but ultimately largely irrelevant solutions being peddled by the candidates" (Jaffe, Chicago Tribune, 12/7).

  • Paul Krugman, New York Times: "Imagine this: It's the summer of 2009, and President Barack Obama is about to unveil his plan for universal health care," but "his health policy experts have done the math" and have concluded that, without a requirement that all U.S. residents obtain health insurance, the "plan will fall far short of universal coverage" and that "health insurance will be much more expensive than it should be for those who do choose to buy it," Times columnist Krugman writes. According to Krugman, Obama "knows that, if he tries to include a mandate in the plan, he'll face a barrage of misleading attacks from conservatives who oppose universal health care in any form," and "he'll have trouble responding" because he has "made the very same misleading attacks on Clinton and Edwards." Though there is "a huge divide between Republicans and Democrats on health care" and Obama's plan is "very much on the Democratic side of that divide," he "has been stressing his differences with his rivals by attacking their plans from the right," Krugman writes (Krugman, New York Times, 12/7).

Reprintedwith permission from kaisernetwork.org. You can view the entire Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report, search the archives, and sign upfor email delivery at kaisernetwork.org/email . The Kaiser Daily Health PolicyReport is published for kaisernetwork.org, a free service of The Henry J.Kaiser Family Foundation.

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