Health Care Election News for the Week of Feb. 1, 2008
In a debate in Los Angeles on Thursday, Democratic presidential candidates Sens. Hillary Rodham Clinton (N.Y.) and Barack Obama (Ill.) "dueled to a draw during a long and detailed discussion about their competing health care plans" while "focusing on details and differing on how to bring the most people into a national insurance network," the Washington Post reports (Balz/Kornblut, Washington Post, 2/1).
During the debate, Clinton cited health care as an issue on which she differed significantly with Obama, as her proposal would require all U.S. residents to obtain health insurance and his would only require coverage for children. Obama said that their proposals are "95% similar" (McClatchy/Arizona Republic, 2/1).
Both candidates said they would finance their health care proposals through savings from increased efficiency in the health care system and the elimination of tax cuts for higher-income residents (Decker/La Ganga, Los Angeles Times, 2/1).
CNN video of the candidates' comments on health care is available online. A transcript of the complete debate also is available online (CNN, 1/31).
A debate in Simi Valley, Calif., on Wednesday featured Republican presidential candidates former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, Sen. John McCain (Ariz.), Rep. Ron Paul (Texas) and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney.
McCain and Romney traded comments on the Massachusetts health insurance law that was enacted during Romney's administration, but there was little other discussion of health care.
Video of McCain and Romney's comments on the Massachusetts health care law and other issues is available online. A CNN transcript of the complete debate also is available online (CNN, 1/30).
NPR's "All Things Considered" on Thursday included a discussion with NPR health policy correspondent Julie Rovner about Republican and Democratic candidates' health care proposals. The segment also includes comments from Clinton, Obama, Huckabee, McCain and Romney (Norris, "All Things Considered," NPR, 1/31).
Audio of the segment and expanded NPR coverage are available online.
The Chicago Tribune on Thursday profiled a California woman "who is a prototype of what polls suggest is a 'typical' California Democrat" and examined the effect that health care and other proposals from the presidential candidates would have on her. According to the Tribune, an analysis of the health care proposals of the candidates "shows little immediate help" for the average California Democrat.
The three major Republican candidates maintain that their proposals would make health care more affordable. According to the Tribune, Clinton and Obama have said their proposals would save the average family as much as $2,500 annually in premiums.
However, "those are estimates, based on projected savings from technology, disease prevention and insurance efficiencies," and in the event that "all the proposals come true, the campaigns admit that families could wait years to see the full savings," the Tribune reports (Tankersley, Chicago Tribune, 1/31).
In an appearance on CNN's "The Situation Room" on Wednesday, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) discussed issues -- including health care reform -- that he believes will be important to Californians in the presidential election.
Schwarzenegger said California will try again at health care reform, adding, "But at the same time, we feel it's very important for the federal government to create universal health care" (Blitzer, "The Situation Room," CNN, 1/30).
Video of the segment is available online.
More than three-fourths of U.S. voters believe the next president can have at least some influence on health care costs, according to an Associated Press/Yahoo! News poll released on Thursday, the AP/San Francisco Chronicle reports (Benac/Tompson, AP/San Francisco Chronicle, 1/31).
The online poll, conducted by Knowledge Networks, included responses from 2,016 voters -- 943 of whom were Democrats or leaned toward Democrats and 740 of whom were Republicans or leaned toward Republicans -- collected between Jan. 18 and Jan. 28. The poll had a margin of sampling error of 3.2% for Democrats and of 3.6% for Republicans (AP/San Francisco Chronicle, 1/31).