Since I know some of you out there have interests other than sports, I figured I’d test the political waters and see what kind of response we get. My idea was to pick an issue every week (maybe every few days) and give a basic summary of each of the six main presidential candidates’ stance on the issue. It will mostly be objective although I can’t promise I won’t make an occasional comment.
The issue for today is healthcare. There are 44.8 million people in the U.S. who are with out healthcare coverage. Premiums for families have risen 87% (!) since 2000 (Kaiser Family Foundation). I think everyone agrees that healthcare needs to be more affordable and more readily available; the question is what's the best way to improve the system.
John McCain (R) McCain has advocated bipartisan efforts to reduce healthcare costs to make it more affordable. He is opposed to raising taxes but would like to see the SCHIP program expanded. (SCHIP is a government sponsored program that gives aid to families who make too much to qualify for Medicaid, yet cannot afford private insurance.) The rest of his hypothetical plan includes offering tax incentives for the poor, promoting health savings accounts, and reforming the medical malpractice system. He is especially focused on providing aid to injured veterans. Actually, that's all he talks about on his website.
John Edwards (D) His goal is to have all Americans insured by 2012. Edwards has said that he believes that the government, business, and individuals all share the responsibility for making sure everyone is covered. He says that if elected he would eliminate Bush’s tax cuts to the wealthiest Americans and use the money to finance the reform and make it more affordable.
Rudy Giuliani (R) The former New York mayor says the problem should be fixed by improving the quality of coverage and lowering the cost. He is strongly opposed to socializing the system. A free market, he says, would allow for more options and lower the overall price. He has yet to come out with a more specific plan.
Hilary Clinton (D) If Hil-Dog becomes the first female president she plans on enacting universal healthcare coverage. Insurance companies would be required by law to offer insurance to everyone. She also wants to make healthcare the number one voting concern in ’08. That’s a nice thought Hilary, except there is this thing called Iraq…
Mitt Romney (R) Romney, much like Giuliani, has said that he thinks a free market would correct many of the problems in the system. One cause of concern for many Republicans is legislation Romney passed in Massachusetts which required all individuals to be insured or face legal ramifications. When asked about it he said that he is proud of the system instituted in Massachusetts but has a different idea as to what is best for the entire country. Hmm, sounds confusing.
Barack Obama (D) Obama wants to see universal coverage but still keep health care in the private sector. He wants to make it a requirement that all children are covered, provide subsidies to people who are not covered by Medicaid or SCHIP but still cannot afford insurance, and require employers who do not offer health care packages to allocate a percentage of pay towards health care. Obama plans to provide funding for his program by eliminating the tax cuts to the wealthiest Americans. Sounds pretty close to socializing the program to me.
I have to say that although Giuliani’s stance is the least specific so far, I like it the best. It’s convenient for Democrats to gain popularity on the issue by making a “poor vs. the rich” battle. Eliminating tax cuts for the wealth sounds like a good plan at first glance right? They’re rich, they don’t need the money. The problem is its basic economics that says if the wealthy have less money to spend its going to affect every level of the economy down to the very bottom. If we make the health care system socialized, what’s next? It’s a slippery slope.
I think the rest of the Republicans either lack focus or credibility. McCain talks about improving everything, but it seems all he really wants to talk about is health care for veterans. I agree that is a very important issue, but not at the expense of the entire population. It’s also hard to take Romney seriously when he says he advocates a free market but in his own state he voted for something that is close to the opposite.
I’m interested to hear what you guys think.