home email us! sindicaci;ón

Presidential Health Care Agenda

by Lola Butcher

For those of you playing along at home, refer to these links to see the official health care proposals for the Big Three:

In sum, the two Democrats want universal coverage through an individual mandate, although the timing and details of that mandate differ, while McCain seeks incremental increases in coverage with no goal for universal coverage.

A poll of World Health Care Congress voters showed no clear favorite among the three proposals described. Imagine that!

In a session moderated by Joanne Silberner, health policy correspondent at National Public Radio, George C. Halvorson, chairman and CEO, Kaiser Foundation Health Plans and Hospitals, said “I have grounds for great optimism. My sense is that the presidential debate on health care for this election is the most sophisticated and well-informed that we have ever had.”

Other Halvorson points:

  • The proposals offered by the three candidates call to mind European efforts that have succeeded in making universal coverage the norm: a network of health plans; employers mandated to buy coverage; health plans mandated to offer coverage; subsidies for low income people.
  • The plans offered by Sen. Obama and Sen. Clinton look a lot like The Netherlands, while Sen. McCain’s plan resembles that at work in Switzerland.

George P. Schultz, former U.S. Secretary of State, Treasury and Labor, used his response to offer his own plan, as detailed in his new book.

Another point from Schultz: Why is America decreasing federal funding for basic research? Calling basic science the true “game-changing” activity, he called the funding cuts a short-sighted move.