Editorials Discuss Health Care Issues In Presidential Election

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Summaries of a recent editorial and opinion piece that addressed health care issues in the presidential election appear below.

* San Francisco Chronicle: The estimated $482 billion federal budget deficit for fiscal year 2009 is a "numbing number" because neither presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Sen. Barack Obama (Ill.) nor presumptive Republican presidential nominee Sen. John McCain (Ariz.) "wants to face it squarely," and a deficit "this large will undercut" their promises on health care and other issues, a Chronicle editorial states. In addition, "both candidates are mostly silent on the building tidal waves around Medicare and Social Security, which face rising bills, longer enrollment lists and gridlock politics," according to the editorial. Both Obama and McCain are "headed in the wrong direction," and their "appealing plans will add to the debt, piling up billions more that will prolong a downward slide," the editorial states, adding, "Voters shouldn't be fooled into thinking anything else" (San Francisco Chronicle, 7/30).

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* John Goodman, Wall Street Journal: Presidential "campaign rhetoric" might prompt voters to believe that Obama has "proposed bold new changes for our health care system" and that McCain is "offering only small improvements," but most health care policy analysts "believe that Mr. McCain is proposing the most fundamental health care reform," Goodman, president of the National Center for Policy Analysis and an unpaid adviser to McCain, writes in a Journal opinion piece.

According to Goodman, the McCain proposal, which would replace a tax break for employees who receive health insurance from employers with a refundable tax credit of as much as $2,500 for individuals and $5,000 for families to purchase private coverage, "would completely replace" the current health care system with a "fairer, more efficient system with a much better chance of insuring the uninsured and controlling health costs at the same time." In contrast, "Obama would leave" the current health system -- which is "extremely arbitrary" and "wasteful" -- "largely intact," he adds. Goodman concludes, "The McCain plan will not solve all our health care problems," but "it has a far better chance of positively reforming the system than any other plan that has been proposed in this campaign season" (Goodman, Wall Street Journal, 7/30).

Reprinted with permission from kaisernetwork.org. You can view the entire Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report, search the archives, and sign up for email delivery at kaisernetwork.org/email . The Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report is published for kaisernetwork.org, a free service of The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. © 2007 Advisory Board Company and Kaiser Family Foundation. All rights reserved.

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