FREEDOMCHANNEL.COM: Direct Links to Candidates on Health
Freedomchannel.com, a first-of-its kind online information forum where candidates and political interest groups lay out their views on issues from Medicare to environmental policy to abortion, goes live on the Web today -- one year before the nation goes to the polls for the first election of the new millennium. The site offers video, audio and text versions of concise statements on different topics from divergent viewpoints. For example, from Al Gore on Medicare: "When the Gingrich Congress tried to cut it, I fought hard -- and we defeated their deep cuts. ... I've met seniors who sit up at night deciding which dosages of which medicine to cut in half -- they're gambling with their health to save precious pills and dollars. Putting them in that bind is a disgrace, and I'll fight to change that." From Sen. Orrin Hatch's (R-UT) statement on Medicare: "True reforms to protect Medicare have unfortunately been derailed by the Clinton-Gore administration, which has cynically chosen to use Medicare reform as a political issue to frighten seniors. When a bipartisan commission came up with the principles for reforming Medicare, it was the Clinton-Gore Administration that interfered and kept a final report from coming out." From Independent presidential candidate Bernard Palicki on health care reform: "Under my administration, HMO insurance policies will be abolished. We will remove from Congress [the] unconstitutional authority to write health insurance policies [and] to inject huge amounts of money to subsidize the health care industry."
Statements are clearly archived by source, topic, race and date, with new segments added on an ongoing basis as old ones are archived in a searchable database. The site also contains a brief biography of each presenting candidate and links to the websites of presenting organizations. The site calls itself "a millennium gift to America." A brainchild of Doug Bailey, father of National Journal's The Hotline and American Healthline, freedomchannel.com is "nonpartisan, nonprofit, devoid of paid advertising and entirely free" (site, 11/8).