Democratic Candidates for President Talk Health Care at Debate
The eight Democratic presidential candidates at their first debate on Thursday "mostly agreed" on the need to expand health care coverage to the uninsured while reducing costs for those who have insurance, the McClatchy/Seattle Times reports. The 90-minute debate at South Carolina State University aired on MSNBC and was moderated by NBC news anchor Brian Williams (Thomma, McClatchy/Seattle Times, 4/27).
Candidates were given one minute to answer questions and did not make opening or closing statements. The debate is the earliest in presidential campaign history, according to Reuters (Whitesides, Reuters, 4/26).
All of the candidates proposed finding solutions to extend health insurance to the 45 million uninsured U.S. residents and to control health care costs, but they differed on how to finance such proposals.
Former Sen. John Edwards (N.C.) said he would increase taxes on residents with annual incomes of more than $200,000 to fund his health care plan.
Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (N.Y.) said she would not increase spending for a health care expansion -- "presumably meaning she would not add new taxes," the McClatchy/Times reports (McClatchy/Seattle Times, 4/27).
New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson said he believes a universal health coverage system can be achieved without raising taxes (Reuters, 4/26).
The AP/San Francisco Chronicle reports that Sen. Barak Obama (Ill.), when "questioned about whether he's light on substance, laid out a three-point health care plan" (Pickler, AP/San Francisco Chronicle, 4/27).
Fellow candidates Sen. Chris Dodd (Conn.), Sen. Joseph Biden (Del.), Rep. Dennis Kucinich (Ohio) and former Alaska Sen. Mike Gravel also participated in the debate (Reuters, 4/26).
Other issues discussed included troop withdrawal from Iraq, abortion rights and access to guns for people with mental illnesses (McClatchy/Seattle Times, 4/27).
Video excerpts featuring candidates' responses to questions on health care and other domestic issues are available on MSNBC.com.