state of mich

The Candidates on Health Care

January 17, 2008 by  


Major presidential candidates greet one another in New Hampshire during a debate.

By Masood Rab, AMPEC

According to the preliminary results of AMPEC’s unscientific survey of Muslim community concerns, a major issue that Muslims are concerned about is healthcare.

This article considers each of the candidates and measures them by their stated positions and voting histories in relation to the vital issue of healthcare.

In reaction to AMPEC’s survey, in response to the input “It is not government’s responsibility to provide health care to its citizens”, the response was: Strongly Agree: 9%: Agree: 12%; No Opinion: 8%; Disagree: 29%; Strongly Disagree: 37%; with 4% no input (figures rounded).

66% of survey respondents are in favor of universal health care for US citizens; 21% are opposed; 12% had no opinion.

The positions as summarized below on health care are obtained from election-related websites.

Hillary Clinton:

Include insurance industry in discussions, but rein them in. (Sep 2007); No parent should be told ‘no’ for healthcare for their kids. (Sep 2007); I want to be the health care president. (Sep 2007); Local smoking bans ok, but no national ban. (Sep 2007); Outcry if AIDS were leading disease of young whites. (Jun 2007); FactCheck: Yes, AIDS is leading disease of young black women. (Jun 2007); 1993:Ambitious role plagued from start by secrecy complaints. (Jun 2007); Universal health care coverage by the end of my second term. (Feb 2007); I have the expertise to achieve universal healthcare for all. (Feb 2007)

Voting Record: Voted YES on requiring negotiated Rx prices for Medicare part D. (Apr 2007); Voted NO on limiting medical liability lawsuits to $250,000. (May 2006); Voted YES on expanding enrollment period for Medicare Part D. (Feb 2006); Voted YES on increasing Medicaid rebate for producing generics. (Nov 2005); Voted YES on negotiating bulk purchases for Medicare prescription drug. (Mar 2005); Voted NO on $40 billion per year for limited Medicare prescription drug benefit. (Jun 2003); Rated 100% by APHA, indicating a pro-public health record. (Dec 2003)

John Edwards:

Comprehensive coverage costs $90B to $120B a year. (Sep 2007); FactCheck: Plan costs $106B-$146B per year, not $90B-$120B. (Sep 2007); 2004 universal coverage irresponsible; but US has changed. (Sep 2007); Congress grants healthcare to all, or give up their own. (Sep 2007); Exactly the same healthcare rights for same-sex couples. (Aug 2007); Fully fund finding a cure for AIDS. (Jun 2007);Universal health care-$90B-$120B per year for healthcare, by ending Bush tax cut. (Sep 2007). (Jun 2007); Obama’s health plan will leave about 15 million uncovered. (Jun 2007); Cover every child and vulnerable adults. (Mar 2004)

Voting Record: Require health insurance for every child. (Aug 2003); Voted NO on $40 billion per year for limited Medicare prescription drug benefit. (Jun 2003); Voted YES on allowing reimportation of Rx drugs from Canada. (Jul 2002); Voted YES on allowing patients to sue HMOs & collect punitive damages. (Jun 2001); Voted NO on funding GOP version of Medicare prescription drug benefit. (Apr 2001); Voted YES on including prescription drugs under Medicare. (Jun 2000); Rated 100% by APHA, indicating a pro-public health record. (Dec 2003)

Rudy Giuliani:

Medicare and Medicaid need a private solution. (Oct 2007); FactCheck: No evidence that free market would halve premiums. (Oct 2007); $15,000 tax credit for health savings accounts. (Aug 2007); Switch from employer decisions to individual choices. (Jun 2007); $15,000 family tax deduction for your own health insurance. (Jun 2007); 96,000 NYC children insured via HealthStat initiative. (May 2007); No socialized medicine; give vouchers to the poor. (Apr 2007)

Mike Huckabee:

We don’t have a healthcare system; it’s a healthcare maze. (Oct 2007); Individually-controlled insurance, not government SCHIP. (Oct 2007); Portable medical records that YOU own, not your doctor. (Sep 2007); System is upside down; focuses on intervention after illness. (Sep 2007); Oppose mandated health insurance and universal coverage. (Sep 2007); Insurance reward for avoiding tobacco, alcohol, obesity. (Sep 2007); Give Americans Congress’ healthcare, or give Congress ours. (Aug 2007); Dems want government in charge; GOP want consumers in charge. (Jun 2007); Focus on health & prevention, not just disease treatment. (Jan 2007); Guaranteed medical care not government’s responsibility. (Nov 2002);

John McCain:

Give individuals $2500 refundable tax credits for healthcare. (Oct 2007); Control health costs so manufacturers stay competitive. (Oct 2007); No mandated universal system; no mandated insurance coverage. (Jun 2006); Supports tax-free medical savings accounts & tax credits. (Nov 2004); Matching funds for seniors citizens’ prescription drugs. (Dec 1999); Expand health insurance to 11 million uninsured children. (Dec 1999); Keep health care promises to aging veterans. (Nov 1999); Address powerlessness when faced with health care crises. (Jul 1999); “Patient rights” means value human life over dollars. (Jul 1999); Patient Rights: access; MDs over HMOs; grievance process. (Jul 1999); Supports patient rights; regulate nicotine as a drug. (Jul 1998)

Voting Record: Allow appealing HMO decisions externally & in court. (Jul 1999); Voted NO on expanding enrollment period for Medicare Part D. (Feb 2006); Voted YES on increasing Medicaid rebate for producing generics. (Nov 2005); Voted YES on negotiating bulk purchases for Medicare prescription drug. (Mar 2005); Voted YES on allowing reimportation of Rx drugs from Canada. (Jul 2002); Voted YES on funding GOP version of Medicare prescription drug benefit. (Apr 2001); Voted NO on including prescription drugs under Medicare. (Jun 20000; Voted NO on medical savings acounts. (Apr 1996); Rated 25% by APHA, indicating a anti-public health voting record. (Dec 2003)

Barrack Obama:

Government healthcare like members of Congress have. (Sep 2007); FactCheck: Correct that insurance lobbying cost $1B. (Sep 2007); Morally wrong that terminally ill must consider money. (Sep 2007); National smoking bans only after trying local bans. (Sep 2007); Increase competition in the insurance and drug markets. (Aug 2007); National Health Insurance Exchange for private coverage. (Aug 2007); We need condom distribution to deal with the scourge of AIDS. (Aug 2007); Got tested for AIDS, with wife, in public, in Kenya. (Jun 2007); Health plan cuts typical family’s premium by $2,500 a year. (Jun 2007); Employers are going to have to pay or play. (Mar 2007); Need political will to accomplish universal coverage. (Mar 2007); Address minority health needs by more coverage & targeting. (Mar 2007); Believes health care is a right, not a privilege for the few. (Sep 2004)

Voting Record: No need to mandate coverage; just let people afford it. (Jul 2007); Voted YES on requiring negotiated Rx prices for Medicare part D. (Apr 2007); Voted YES on expanding enrollment period for Medicare Part D. (Feb 2006); Voted YES on increasing Medicaid rebate for producing generics. (Nov 2005); Voted YES on negotiating bulk purchases for Medicare prescription drug. (Mar 2005)

Ron Paul:

Companies and government make healthcare unaffordable. (Oct 2007); Transfer funds from debt and empire-building to healthcare. (Oct 2007); Socialized medicine won’t work; nor managed care. (Oct 2007); Managed care is expensive and hasn’t worked. (Sep 2007) ; Oppose mandated health insurance and universal coverage. (Sep 2007); Not government’s role to protect people like Terri Schiavo. (Sep 2007); Insurance reward for avoiding tobacco, alcohol, obesity. (Sep 2007)

Voting Record: Voted YES on requiring negotiated Rx prices for Medicare part D. (Jan 2007); Voted NO on denying non-emergency treatment for lack of Medicare co-pay. (Feb 2006); Voted NO on limiting medical malpractice lawsuits to $250,000 damages. (May 2004); Voted NO on limited prescription drug benefit for Medicare recipients. (Nov 2003); Voted YES on small business associations for buying health insurance. (Jun 2003); Voted NO on capping damages & setting time limits in medical lawsuits. (Mar 2003); Voted NO on banning physician-assisted suicide. (Oct 1999); Rated 56% by APHA, indicating a mixed record on public health issues. (Dec 2003)

Mitt Romney:

Let states create their own private, market-based insurance. (Oct 2007); Removing most mandates drove down premium cost by half. (Oct 2007); FactCheck: HillaryCare closer to RomneyCare than “all government”. (Oct 2007); FactCheck: Massachussettes plan works, but Romney not proposing it for US. (Oct 2007); Same tax treatment if people buy insurance without employers. (Oct 2007); Get everybody insured with state-based market dynamics. (Oct 2007); Insure 45 million uninsured with a free-market based system. (Aug 2007); FactCheck: Romney plan virtually identical to Obama plan. (Jun 2007); FactCheck: MA plan not yet in place so analysis premature. (May 2007); Subsidies for health coverage for low-income individuals. (Mar 2002)

Fred Thompson:

Less benefits for high-income Medicare beneficiaries. (Oct 2007); One-size-fits-all programs are inefficient and inadequate. (Sep 2007); Competition, free-market solutions & personal responsibility. (Sep 2007); We have world’s best medical system but it’s too expensive. (Aug 2007); Americans better served than nationalized Canadian system. (Jun 2007); Medicare drug payment methods are fundamentally flawed. (Jun 2001); Medicare loses $11B per year to errors and fraud. (Jun 2001)

Voting Record: Voted NO on allowing reimportation of Rx drugs from Canada. (Jul 2002); Voted NO on allowing patients to sue HMOs & collect punitive damages. (Jun 2001); Voted YES on funding GOP version of Medicare prescription drug benefit. (Apr 2001); Voted NO on including prescription drugs under Medicare. (Jun 2000); Voted YES on limiting self-employment health deduction. (Jul 1999); Voted NO on increasing tobacco restrictions. (Jun 1998); Voted YES on Medicare means-testing. (Jun 1997); Voted NO on medical savings acounts. (Apr 1996).

How all this plays out in the White House is anybody’s guess. The desire of a given candidate for health care is likely exaggerated during the campaign, and his or her ability to pass health care legislation may be either emboldened by a sympathetic legislative branch or hobbled by one that is uncooperative.

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