Health Care Arises as Issue for Romney, Tommy Thompson
Republican presidential candidates former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and former Wisconsin Gov. and HHS Secretary Tommy Thompson discussed health care issues at recent campaign events. Summaries appear below.
Michele Griffin, a waitress at a diner in New Hampshire that has become a "popular stop for presidential candidates," last week questioned Romney about his health care proposal, a "relatively brief" but "emotional" exchange that provided a "snapshot of an issue that could play an important role in the presidential primaries in both parties," the Washington Post reports.
Griffin, who has one daughter with Crohn's disease and one daughter with diabetes, said that politicians have focused more on the global AIDS epidemic than on domestic health care issues. She said, "After we pay our huge deductibles for our insurance and our cost for our prescriptions, there's nothing left."
Griffin said of presidential candidates, "They all talk about health care 'till they get in there. But they all have health care, don't they? Do they have to pay outrageous copays? No."
Griffin also questioned presidential candidate Sen. Joe Biden (D-Del.) about his health care proposal when he visited the diner (Bacon/Shear, Washington Post, 8/4).
Thompson on Saturday told reporters in Des Moines, Iowa, that health care must become a higher priority issue among Republican candidates, the Des Moines Register reports.
Thompson said that, although voters consider health care one of their most importation issues, Republican presidential candidates "have had three debates already," but there has "only been one question about health care." He added, "I have a plan that will completely transform health care and make it affordable and accessible" for all U.S. residents.
The proposal would focus on preventive care and encourage the use of information technology to reduce costs. In addition, the proposal would require states to form health insurance pools to negotiate lower prices for coverage for uninsured residents (Petroski, Des Moines Register, 8/5).
None of the "leading Republican candidates have said anything substantive about policy," New York Times columnist Paul Krugman writes in an opinion piece. For instance, presidential candidate and former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani's (R) "vaguely described a tax cut proposal that he says would do something good for health care," but he offered "no specifics about how the plan would work" or whether the proposal would help the uninsured, according to Krugman. However, Giuliani has offered "no specifics about how the plan would work" or whether the proposal would help the uninsured, Krugman writes.
"There is, by contrast, a lot of substance on the Democratic side," he writes. For example, Krugman writes, presidential candidate and former Sen. John Edwards (D-N.C.) has "transformed the whole health care debate with a plan that offers a politically and fiscally plausible path to universal health insurance." In addition, Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) has proposed a "broadly similar but somewhat less comprehensive plan," according to Krugman. However, presidential candidate Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) "has been evasive" about her health proposal and had "offered few specifics" about "how she would cover the uninsured," Krugman writes. He adds, "Clinton is showing an almost Republican aversion to talking about substance" (Krugman, New York Times, 8/5).