Recent Health Care-Related Developments In Presidential Campaign

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Summariesof recent developments in the presidential campaign related to health careappear below.

  • Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.): Clinton on Tuesday criticized rival Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) for a 1996 questionnaire in which he indicated support for a single-payer health care system, Long Island Newsday reports. In 1996, during his campaign for the Illinois state Senate, Obama completed a questionnaire distributed by the Independent Voters of Illinois Independent Precinct Organization. His response to the questionnaire indicated support for a single-payer health care system, although he has proposed a system based on private health insurance during his presidential campaign. In an e-mail titled "Obama Forced to Defend Electability in Face ... of New Questionnaire," the Clinton campaign reprinted excerpts from an online article that claims Obama has received criticism for "abandoning" his position on the health care system as he "rose through the ranks." An aide to Obama said that "Obama never saw or approved" the response to the questionnaire and did not support a single-payer health care system. "It was filled out by an aide who has conceded she never got Obama's sign off," the aide said (Thrush, Long IslandNewsday, 12/11). In related news, the Clinton campaign plans to launch television advertisements in New Hampshire that criticize the Obama health care proposal, which lacks a requirement in her plan that all U.S. residents obtain health insurance. In addition, the Clinton campaign over the weekend sent volunteers door-to-door in the state to distribute fliers that criticize the Obama proposal (Fouhy/Elliot, AP/Denver Post, 12/12).

  • Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.): McCain on Tuesday in Inman, S.C., said that as president he would make efforts to improve health care for veterans his top domestic priority, and he criticized lawmakers for their failure to pass Wounded Warrior legislation to help address the issue, the AP/Winston-Salem Journal reports. At a campaign event in a pancake house, McCain, a retired Navy pilot, cited the need for an expansion of the Department of Veterans Affairs health care system and called recent reports of problems with the conditions at Walter Reed Army Medical Center "deplorable." He also said that VA hospitals should focus on the treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder, and burns and other combat wounds. In addition, McCain said that veterans should receive a card they can present to receive care at any health care facility to help them avoid long waits for routine care at VA hospitals (AP/Winston-Salem Journal, 12/12).

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Editorial Examines Clinton Record

Clinton during her presidential campaign has"emphasized her 35 years of 'experience' and described herself as apresident who will need no on-the-job training" on health care and otherissues, and "it is fair to ask: What have been the most important issuesMrs. Clinton has addressed in these capacities? And what have been theresults?" a Washington Times editorial states.

As first lady, Clinton in 1993 led a task force that developed a health careproposal "so controversial it was abandoned in September 1994 withoutreceiving a vote in either congressional chamber," the editorial states. Clinton also"supported Democratic alternatives" to the Medicare prescription drugbenefit -- "a 75-year, present-value unfunded liability exceeding $8trillion" -- that were "about twice as expensive," according tothe editorial (Washington Times, 12/12).

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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