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The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

Contenders debate medical treatment, health insurance

Contenders debate medical treatment, health insurance

By Christopher Webb/reporter

(Part two of a three-part series looking at presidential campaign issues. This week, The Collegian looks at health care.)

insanepillsThe Collegian looks at three issues that affect TCC students: education reform, health care reform and immigration. The following gives the positions on health care of the top three candidates from each major party: Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama and John Edwards of the Democratic Party; John McCain, Rudy Giuliani and Fred Thompson of the Republican Party.

HEALTH CARE
Approximately 18,000 Americans die every year because they lack access to care, according to the Institute of Medicine.

Comprehensive national health care reform lost much of its drive after its flop in Congress in the early 1990s, but today it is picking up steam. Some candidates favor moderate reform while others advocate partial or even total nationalization of the health care industry.

Hillary Clinton
Clinton is a strong advocate of nationalizing health care. She was the leader of the Task Force on National Health Care Reform, which set out to nationalize health care in the early ’90s (the program even earned the title Hillarycare in the media). Clinton also helped pressure the FDA into approving the “pediatric rule” requiring drug companies to test whether a specific drug is safe for children.

Clinton’s plan, American Health Choices, calls for total health coverage for every citizen and centers around diversifying options and reducing costs.

“You know, President Kennedy said in his inauguration that he wanted to have a man on the moon by the end of the decade. Well, I want to have universal health care coverage by the end of my second term.” (Clinton during the AFSCME Democratic primary debate in Carson City, Nev.)

John Edwards
Edwards’ idea for health care, at its core, is simple: make it illegal not to have health insurance. The plan itself is a little more complicated, calling for shared responsibility between government, citizens and employers and making businesses more accountable for giving its employees coverage. Edwards asks for the expansion of programs such as Medicaid, and for new nonprofit health care markets established by the government.

Estimated to cost between $90 and $120 billion, one aspect of Edwards’ plan is that individual citizens choose whether to use a public or private health care plan. The plan is to make it affordable and then require everyone to have health insurance.

“We have to stop using words like ‘access to health care’ when we know with certainty those words mean something less than universal care. Who are you willing to leave behind without the care he needs? Which family? Which child? We need a truly universal solution, and we need it now and the only way to provide universal coverage is to mandate that everyone be covered.” (Edwards on his Web site, johnedwards.com)

Barack Obama
Obama has said he believes health coverage is a right, not a privilege. His plan for nationalizing health care is based on illness prevention and the creation of a national health insurance exchange to help regulate private health insurance to those who want it and serve as a watchdog for the rest of the industry. He does not support a legally enforced mandatory health care for everyone, just for children. His plan will make health care separate from one’s job, but will still keep some financial burden on corporations and other businesses to aid in funding their employees’ health care.

The plan also sets limits on the profits of private health care businesses and places an emphasis on illness prevention so that treatment can be avoided altogether.

“We should have a national pool that people can buy into if they don’t have health insurance, similar to the ones that most of us who are in Congress enjoy right now. It doesn’t make sense to me that my bosses, the taxpayers, may not have the same health insurance that I enjoy. And we can provide subsidies for those who can’t afford the group rates that are available.” (Obama during the South Carolinai Democratic primary debate on MSNBC)

Rudy Giuliani
Giuliani supports universal health care for children. He believes in a less dramatic health care reform than many of his opponents, advocating taking the power of choice from government and employer and placing it in the hands of the individual. His solution for insuring impoverished families is to offer them a tax break.

“I would change the whole model that we have for health insurance in this country. The problem with our health insurance is people don’t make individual choices. It’s your health; you should own your health insurance. We need 100 million Americans making different decisions that will bring down the cost of health insurance; it will bring down the cost of prescription medicines. Free-market principles are the only things that reduce cost and improve quality.” (Giuliani during the GOP debate at Saint Anselm College)

John McCain
McCain has said he is against a national health care plan, but he also says that every child should have health care. He believes affordable health care can be reached without nationalizing it and believes many healthy Americans simply don’t want it. He also supports tax deductions for long-term care insurance and tax credits for those without employee health insurance.

One thing McCain is quick to advocate is senior citizens and veterans health care rights, proposing that the government match money spent on pharmaceuticals by seniors.

“I think [Nationalized health care] is a warmed-over proposal that we rejected back in the early 1990s, and I’m certainly not interested in raising people’s taxes. We’ve got to make health care affordable and available. There’s plenty of ways to do that.” (McCain as reported by United Press International June 2006)

Fred Thompson
Thompson says he is against a national health care program believing “one size fits all” programs are inefficient. Thompson believes competition, open market and personal responsibility are the answer. He’s against the re-importation of pharmaceutical drugs from Canada. He is in favor of reforming Medicare saying payment methods are “fundamentally flawed.”

“Every American should be able to get health insurance coverage that is affordable, fully accessible and portable. Coverage should meet their individual needs and put them in control. Those who propose a one-size-fits-all Washington-controlled program ignore the cost, inefficiency and inadequate care that such a system offers. Access to affordable, portable health care can be made available for all Americans without imposing new mandates or raising taxes.” (Thompson on his Web site, www.Fred08.com)

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