Democratic Candidates Spar on Health Care at Presidential Debate
Seven Democratic presidential candidates on Thursday at the University of Nevada-Las Vegas participated in a CNN debate, during which they discussed health care and other issues, the New York Times reports (Cooper, New York Times, 11/16).
During the debate, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (N.Y.) cited a "big difference" on health care between herself and Sen. Barack Obama (Ill.) (Blake, The Hill, 11/15). According to Clinton, his health care proposal "would leave 15 million Americans out" because the plan would not require all U.S. residents to obtain health insurance, a mandate included in her proposal.
She said, "He talks a lot about stepping up and taking responsibility and taking strong positions. But when it came time to step up and decide whether or not he would support universal health care coverage, he chose not to do that" (Thomma, McClatchy/St. Paul Pioneer Press, 11/15).
In response, Obama said, "The only difference between Senator Clinton's health care plan and mine is that she thinks the problem for people without health care is that nobody has mandated -- forced -- them to get health care." He added, "That's not what I'm seeing. ... What I see are people who would love to have health care. They desperately want it. But the problem is they can't afford it."
He also questioned the enforceability of a requirement that all residents obtain health insurance. "She states that she wants to mandate health care coverage, but she's not garnishing people's wages to make sure that they have it," Obama said (Cooper, New York Times, 11/16).
Clinton also said that former Sen. John Edwards (N.C.) did not offer a proposal to expand health insurance to all residents during his presidential campaign in 2004 (Milligan, Boston Globe, 11/16).
Rep. Dennis Kucinich (Ohio) said, "A president has to be a healer ... this has been one of the great divides in our country." He added, "I want to let the American people know that I'll stand for prenatal care, postnatal care, child care, a living wage, universal health care, sex education, birth control."
New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson said that he "would have a hero's health card for every military person in this country ... which would mean that they could get health care ... anywhere they want." He added, "I would fully guarantee funding" at the Department of Veterans Affairs (AP/Atlanta Journal-Constitution, 11/15).
Sens. Joe Biden (Del.) and Chris Dodd (Conn.) also participated in the debate (The Hill, 11/15).
CNN video of the complete debate and expanded coverage are available online. A transcript of the complete debate also is available online (CNN, 11/15).
KCRW's "To the Point" on Friday is scheduled to include a discussion about the issue of health care in the 2008 presidential election (Olney, "To the Point," KCRW, 11/16).
A broadcast schedule and additional details about the segment are available online. Audio will be available after the broadcast.
PBS' "NewsHour with Jim Lehrer" on Thursday reported on important issues, such as health care, for Nevada voters. The segment includes comments on health care from Nevada residents Tamina Winn-McMillan, a pediatrician; Dale Carrison, emergency room director at University Medical Center in Clark County, Nev.; and Brian Rubin, a waiter and small-business owner. The segment also includes a discussion about health care and other issues with Carrison; Mary Guinan, dean of the School of Public Health at the University of Nevada-Las Vegas; Rene Cantu, vice president of multicultural affairs at Nevada State College; and Sandra Tiffany, a former state senator (Suarez/Woodruff, "NewsHour with Jim Lehrer," PBS, 11/16).
Audio and a transcript of the segment are available online. Video will be available Friday afternoon.