Republican Presidential Candidates Discuss Health Care At Cancer Forum

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Presidential candidates Sen. Sam Brownback (R-Kan.) and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee(R) on Tuesday during the second day of a cancer forum in Cedar Rapids,Iowa, discussed issues related to the disease and health care, the Denver Post reports (Denver Post, 8/28). At the forum, sponsored by the Lance Armstrong Foundation,Brownback said that he would seek to increase federal funds for cancerresearch by as much as three times the current level of $6 billion aspart of an effort to eliminate deaths from the disease in 10 years.Huckabee also said that he would seek to increase federal funds forcancer research (Schulte, Des Moines Register, 8/29).

Inaddition, Huckabee said that the U.S. health care system should focusmore on preventive care and healthy lifestyles and that residents whoreceive food stamps should have more incentive to purchase healthierfoods (Pearson, Chicago Tribune, 8/29).

Huckabeeand Brownback differed on the implementation of smoking bans in publicplaces. Huckabee said that he would support a federal smoking ban, butBrownback said that state and local governments should implement bans (Des Moines Register, 8/29).

Health Insurance Issues

On the issue of health insurance, Brownback said that he would allowU.S. residents to purchase coverage across state lines and expand theuse of health savings accounts. He added that he would establish aprogram to allow residents to compare health insurer reimbursementrates by ZIP code and would equalize rates nationwide. In addition, hesaid that he would make the transfer of medical records less difficult.

Huckabee said that he would expand the use of HSAs and would reduce long-term care insurance costs (Des Moines Registergraphic, 8/29). Both candidates also said that health insuranceproposals offered by Democratic presidential candidates would proveless effective than proposals to improve the affordability of andaccess to private coverage (Chicago Tribune, 8/29).

Thecandidates made their comments during separate, televised interviewswith seven-time Tour de France winner and cancer survivor LanceArmstrong and Chris Matthews, host of MSNBC's "Hardball." No other Republican presidential candidates attended the forum (Des Moines Register, 8/29).


Romney on Cancer Research

Meanwhile, presidential candidate and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney (R) on Tuesday at the 10th Annual Mission Conference of Susan G. Komen for the Cure said that he would increase federal funds for breast cancer research, the AP/Long Island Newsday reports.

Atthe conference, Romney said that "breast cancer, and cancer in general,are not getting their fair share" of federal funds for research. Headded that he would "allocate money to research ... on a scientificbasis -- not just a political basis."

Romney also cited theimportance of cancer prevention and early detection, which he saidwould improve with the extension of health insurance to more U.S.residents. "I will fight to get every person in this country healthinsurance," he said (Fourier, AP/Long Island Newsday, 8/28).

Op-Ed Praises Kucinich on Health Care

Presidential candidate Rep. Dennis Kucinich(D-Ohio) "rarely gets much airtime in Democratic presidential debates,"but he "deserves more attention than he gets" because he "says whatAmericans believe" about health care, "even as his rivals rake incontributions from the industry," Boston Globecolumnist Derrick Jackson writes in an opinion piece. According toJackson, recent polls indicate that a majority of U.S. residentssupport a national health care system, regardless of whether such asystem would require higher taxes, and believe the federal governmentshould provide coverage to all residents.

He writes that,although Kucinich has proposed a not-for-profit, single-payer healthcare system, the major presidential candidates have proposed moreincremental plans. The "hold of the health care industry" on the majorpresidential candidates "is already apparent" based on the campaigncontributions that they have received from health insurers, health careprofessionals and pharmaceutical companies, Jackson writes (Jackson, Boston Globe, 8/29).

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