HEALTH CARE: A Summary of the Candidates’ Positions
Here's a cheat sheet to read while you watch the New Hampshire primaries today. The Christian Science Monitor outlines the candidates' stance on health care reform:
- Bill Bradley: Proposes universal health care to provide insurance to the millions of uninsured Americans. He would like to allow all Americans to buy into the Federal Employees Health Benefit Plan so they can choose their own health plan. His plan would cost an estimated $55 billion to $65 billion annually.
- Al Gore: Prefers incremental reform. He would expand the Children's Health Insurance Program and add a prescription drug benefit to Medicare. His plan would cost an estimated $146 billion over 10 years.
GOP Health Plans
Although health reform has not been a central issue in the GOP presidential race, the candidates have weighed in with some plans:
- Gary Bauer: Wants less-restrictive and more affordable insurance. He would propose tax breaks for self-employed individuals and a tax credit for families providing long term care for a relative. He advocates tax-favorable medical savings accounts.
- George W. Bush: Prefers a slight modification to the current system. He wants more flexibility in Medicare and tax-favorable medical savings accounts. He favors the availability of a prescription drug benefit, more coverage for children and increased HMO patients' rights.
- Steve Forbes: Prefers market-based solutions for expanding coverage and containing costs. He would propose tax-free medical savings accounts and favors fewer regulations and price controls.
- Alan Keyes: Also prefers market-based solutions. He wants tax-free medical savings accounts and would privatize some of the government's health care programs.
- John McCain: Like Bush, McCain prefers slight modifications of the current system. He would provide tax incentives for employers to provide more coverage to employees. He favors allowing HMO patients to sue their insurers.