Health Care Gains Traction as Issue in 2008 Election
Health care is emerging as a major concern for voters as they evaluate candidates running for president in 2008, and media organizations are dedicating increasing attention to candidates' health care positions.
Two newspapers on Wednesday published articles related to the role of health care in the 2008 presidential election. Summaries appear below.
- USA Today: USA Today examined how the proposal announced by Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) "underscores the central role the issue is playing in the race for the Democratic nomination." According to USA Today, Republican presidential candidates have not focused on health care, "reflecting the priorities of Republican voters" (Lawrence, USA Today, 5/30).
- Wall Street Journal: The Journal examined how Obama has become the most recent addition to a "growing list of Democratic presidential candidates calling for universal, cheaper coverage." According to the Journal, the trend "reflects rising and inflation-topping out-of-pocket costs for health care and insurance premiums, copayments and deductibles," with employers "increasingly ... seeking a government-imposed solution, saying employee health costs put them at a disadvantage with foreign competitors." However, "Republican candidates nonetheless will likely try to blast Democrats for using universal care to boost the size of government and to raise taxes," although "they have yet to engage," the Journal reports. In addition, according to the Journal, "no one is talking about an overhaul as ambitious as the 1993-94 Clinton plan -- not even its architect, Mr. Clinton's wife" (Calmes, Wall Street Journal, 5/30).
The proposal, "though vague on many details," will "sharpen" the debate about who should pay for health insurance "in illuminating ways," columnist Ronald Brownstein writes Los Angeles Times.
Brownstein writes, "The best chance for reaching (or even nearing) universal health care coverage is a system of shared responsibility that requires government, individuals and business to all contribute." Proposals "percolating" among Obama and other Democratic presidential candidates "move in that direction," he writes.
However, "unless big employers also finally act on their stake in reform, health care for all is likely to remain out of reach -- at great cost not only to the national interest but to corporate America's own bottom line," Brownstein concludes (Brownstein, Los Angeles Times, 5/30).
Three broadcast programs on Tuesday reported on the role of health care in the 2008 presidential election. Summaries appear below.
- American Public Media's "Marketplace": The segment includes a discussion with Uwe Reinhardt, a professor of economics at Princeton University (Ryssdal, "Marketplace," American Public Media, 5/29). Audio and a transcript of the segment are available online.
- NPR's "All Things Considered": The segment includes comments from Obama; Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.); Blendon; and Kaiser Family Foundation President Drew Altman (Rovner, "All Things Considered," NPR, 5/29). Audio and a partial transcript of the segment are available online.
- PBS' "NewsHour With Jim Lehrer": The segment includes comments from Obama, Clinton and former Sen. John Edwards (D-N.C.). The program on Tuesday also included a discussion with Blendon and "NewsHour" health correspondent Susan Dentzer about health care and the presidential election ("NewsHour with Jim Lehrer," PBS, 5/29). Audio of the segment is available online. Video and a transcript of the segment will be available Wednesday afternoon.