Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Comparison of 3 candidates' health care reform plans

Julie Appelby has a major story in USA Today (Wednesday March 26), front page in print, comparing the health care plans of the three major presidential candidates: Clinton, Obama and McCain. The story is called “Candidates diverge on health care plans.” The link is here. A “comparative government” chart (to borrow from a well-known technique in the World Book Encyclopedia, which I used as a boy) is provided online.

The basic theme is that Republican plans emphasize lowering health care costs, whereas Democratic plans emphasize covering more people, trying to achieve universal coverage.

Hillary Clinton comes closest to state plans that require mandatory health insurance. She would keep some employer participation (especially large employers) but offer every American coverage as good as what Congress gets, and eliminate exclusions for pre-existing conditions.

Barack Obama would make coverage mandatory for minors. He seems to admit that adults cannot sometimes afford insurance and have never had a completely satisfactory answer in the debates, although the talks about a fund for the uninsured. Hillary Clinton may be able to capitalize on this during the remaining Democratic nomination process. Sometimes it seems Obama wants to have a plan that is “different.”

John McCain wants to replace the pre-tax health insurance purchase for employers with an equivalent exemption for individuals and families.

None of the candidates have addressed eldercare significantly, or the issue of long-term care insurance and filial responsibility. So far this whole problem seems like a third rail for politicians, because you can’t run on this issue.

Update: March 27

A visitor recommends the World Congress website.

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