Clinton, Obama Up Criticism of Each Other’s Health Plans
Presidential candidates Sens. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) and Barack Obama (D-Ill.) this weekend "intensified the bickering" over the differences in their health care proposals, the AP/Boston Globe reports.
Clinton on Sunday in an interview with the Associated Press said, "The difference is my health care plan covers every American and Sen. Obama's plan will not. He leaves 15 million people uncovered" because his proposal would not require all U.S. residents to obtain health insurance. In addition, she said, "It's a plan crafted for politics, not for people."
During an appearance at a Council Bluffs, Iowa, school on Saturday, Obama said, "The reason Americans don't have health insurance isn't because they don't want it, it's because they can't afford it, which is why my plan doesn't have a mandate and goes further in cutting costs than any other proposal offered in this race" (Glover, AP/Boston Globe, 11/25).
He said, "Now, there may be a few people in our country, maybe young people who think they're going to live forever, who decide not to get health insurance even when it's affordable," adding, "If we see people are still not covered when we make it affordable, than we will figure out how to make sure that everybody is covered" (Tysver, Omaha World-Herald, 11/24). In addition, he said that Clinton has not specified penalties for residents who do not obtain health insurance under her proposal (AP/Boston Globe, 11/25).
Clinton said, "I'm going to negotiate with the Congress over that because different people in Congress have different approaches about how to do that" (Roug, Los Angeles Times, 11/26).
Presidential candidate and former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani (R) on Sunday said that presidential candidate and Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney (R) "made a mistake" with a recently implemented state health insurance law that requires all residents to obtain coverage. The law, which took effect July 1, requires that all state residents obtain health insurance this year or face possible tax penalties after Jan. 1, 2008, with subsidies for lower-income residents.
Giuliani said that Romney "sort of did Hillary's plan in Massachusetts." He added, "When you mandate it, it ends up costing you much more money" (Van Sack, Boston Herald, 11/26). On Saturday, Giuliani criticized Romney for his efforts to distance himself from the law. "When you look back on Romney's governorship of Massachusetts, there's only one accomplishment, and he's running away from that," he said.
Romney said, "I was just across the country this week talking about my plan," adding, "I'm very proud of my health care plan and think it should be a model for other states to adopt." He also said that Giuliani has not announced a detailed health care proposal (Balz, Washington Post, 11/26).
Clinton on Saturday announced a proposal to help families of children with autism and expand research into the causes of the disease, the AP/Washington Examiner reports.
The proposal, which would increase annual spending on autism programs to $700 million, would expand research into the causes of the disease, improve education and early detection efforts, and train teachers to instruct students with autism.
"Parents will no longer be burdened by unmanageable premiums just because their children have autism," Clinton said. According to Clinton, "we don't know how to cure it, and we don't even know the best ways to treat it." She added, "I think it's time we had a government and a president who recognized the seriousness of autism and addressed it head-on" (Lorentzen, AP/Washington Examiner, 11/25).
NPR's "Morning Edition" on Monday included a discussion with NPR health policy correspondent Julie Rovner about a series of forums organized by Families USA and the Federation of American Hospitals to examine positions of the presidential candidates on health care (Montagne, "Morning Edition," NPR, 11/26). Audio of the segment is available online.This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.