GOP Candidates Touch on Hispanic Health in Debate
Seven Republican presidential candidates on Sunday at the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Fla., discussed health care during a Spanish-language debate co-sponsored by the university and Univision that focused on issues related to Hispanics, the Wall Street Journal reports (Meckler , Wall Street Journal, 12/10).
The debate in large part focused on immigration, but some of the candidates discussed health care. Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee criticized filmmaker Michael Moore for claims in his documentary "Sicko" that Cuba has a higher-quality health care system than the U.S. "I don't mind shipping him down there, but the rest of us I'd like to get health care right here," he said (Dinan, Washington Times, 12/10).
Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney cited the need to expand health insurance to more U.S. residents to improve access to care. He said, "The best kind of prevention you can have in health care is to have a doctor. And if someone doesn't have a doctor, doesn't have a clinic they can go to, doesn't have health insurance to be able to provide the prescription drugs they need, you can't be healthy."
In addition, Romney discussed a recently implemented Massachusetts health insurance law that requires all residents to obtain coverage and provides subsidies for lower-income residents. According to Romney, "It cost us no more money to help people buy insurance policies that they could afford than it was costing us before, handing out free care."
Former Sen. Fred Thompson (Tenn.) cited the need to revise the tax code to expand health insurance to more U.S. residents. U.S. residents "need, through the tax code, ... to have the benefit of buying their own insurance through an open market with more sources, more people offering insurance, lifting regulations to make that happen," he said.
Rep. Duncan Hunter (Calif.), Sen. John McCain (Ariz.), former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani and Rep. Ron Paul (Texas) also participated in the debate (AP/Wichita Eagle , 12/9).
Former President Bill Clinton, husband of Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.), on Saturday in South Carolina promoted her proposal to expand health insurance to all U.S. residents, the AP/Eagle reports.
During a speech to a graduate chapter of the sorority Alpha Kappa Alpha, Bill Clinton said that the proposal would provide health insurance for all 672,000 uninsured South Carolina residents and save the average family in the state about $2,200 in health care costs annually.
In addition, Bill Clinton met with several physicians, nurses and administrators from the Medical University of South Carolina Children's Hospital to discuss the proposal.
He said, "We need to pass a universal health care program. We have a much better chance to succeed than we did in '93." Bill Clinton added, "It's both morally unacceptable and economically unsustainable to do what we're doing now" (Smith, AP/Wichita Eagle, 12/8).
Huckabee on Saturday at a news conference defended comments he made during his 1992 Senate race in which he advocated the quarantine of HIV/AIDS patients, the AP/Eagle reports.
In response to a questionnaire submitted by the Associated Press, Huckabee wrote, "If the federal government is truly serious about doing something with the AIDS virus, we need to take steps that would isolate the carriers of this plague." He also wrote that HIV/AIDS research received an unfair share of federal funds (DeMillo, AP/Wichita Eagle, 12/8).
On Saturday, Huckabee said that, at the time he made the comments, whether HIV/AIDS patients could spread the disease through casual contact remained undetermined (Meckler , Wall Street Journal, 12/10). He said, "Medical protocol typically says that if you have a disease for which there is no cure, and you are uncertain about the transmission of it, then the first thing you do is that you quarantine or isolate carriers." He added, "If I were making those same comments today, I might make them a little differently" (DeMillo, AP/Wichita Eagle, 12/8).
Fox News Channel's "Fox News Sunday" included a discussion with Huckabee about his comments on HIV/AIDS during his 1992 Senate campaign and other issues (Wallace, "Fox News Sunday," Fox News Channel, 12/9).
A transcript of the segment is available online.