GOP: Includes Health Care in Party Platform
Republicans have included a number of health-related initiatives in their party platform. A summary of those points appears below. To view the entire platform, go to http://www.gopconvention.com/platform/platform.html.
- Medicare: Republicans hope to offer seniors a wider choice in health insurance plans, including medical savings accounts, through private sector initiatives. Calling Medicare a "creaking, bureaucratic, and oppressive dinosaur," the GOP also recommends an overhaul of its administrative regulations to ease the burden on health care providers;
- National health care: Citing a number of problems in the American health care system -- such as the rising number of uninsured individuals, deaths resulting from medical errors and a flailing Medicare program -- the GOP pledges to provide all Americans with "access to high- quality and affordable health care." Republicans support private sectors solutions, reserving a limited role for the federal government;
- Health insurance: Republicans propose a tax credit that would allow individuals and families to purchase private health insurance. They also back defined contribution plans, medical savings accounts and full deductibility of health insurance premiums for the self-employed. To ensure that children have access to quality health care, the GOP hopes to streamline CHIP, allowing states to better serve eligible children and families currently not enrolled in a health insurance program or in Medicaid;
- Patients' rights: Noting the importance of patient protections in the age of managed care, the GOP supports a "rapid" appeals process for those denied care by HMOs, as well as a liability shield for businesses and doctors involved with health plans. Republicans also recognize the authority of state governments and medical boards to regulate the health care industry;
- Medical errors and malpractice reform: Republicans support research into preventing medical mistakes and the current hospital peer review system. On the malpractice front, the GOP hopes to encourage doctors to report medical errors by eliminating the "trial lawyers' system of jackpot justice," which often prompts doctors to hide their mistakes;
- Women's health: The GOP plans to develop initiatives targeting diseases and health issues, such as breast and cervical cancer, that disproportionately affect women. In addition, Republicans back women's access to medical advances and technology, equality for women in the delivery of health care services, medical research that focuses specifically on women, appropriate representation of women in clinical trials and direct access to women's health providers;
- Children's health: Citing asthma, childhood obesity, diabetes, drug abuse and smoking as primary concerns, the GOP calls for a war against these conditions to improve the health of children. Republicans also propose increasing immunization rates, boosting resources for biomedical research and promoting pharmaceutical progress;
- Biomedical research: Recognizing the "critical importance of research," Republicans support increased funding for the NIH, especially in the areas of life expectancy, infant mortality, heart disease, diabetes, cancer and HIV/AIDS, which plague underserved and minority populations. They also support the "highest" ethical standards for research facilities, backing measures to protect human embryos and to prohibit human cloning and the trafficking in fetal tissue organs;
- Medical privacy: Republicans support protections for patients' medical and genetic information, proposing a collective effort among Congress, the White House administration, patients, providers, researchers and insurers to establish guidelines (GOP platform, 7/31).