HEALTH CARE REFORM: Democratic Candidates Offer Choice
Drawing distinctions between the two Democratic presidential candidates' health proposals, the Urban Institute's senior analysts John Holahan and Len Nichols write in a Washington Post op-ed that the key health care reform questions, including "Who deserves help buying insurance, who should pay for it and how much?" are addressed very distinctly by both men.
Details of Plans
Gore's plan, which would expand eligibility for the CHIP, target parents of children eligible for federal programs and offer tax breaks for small business without a group plan, is "modest, efficient and safe." However, the authors assert that the Bradley plan is "more ambitious and expensive," requiring parents to cover their children and offering subsidies for all low-income Americans. In addition, he would transfer all Medicaid beneficiaries into mainstream health plans, allow low-income Americans to buy into the same plan offered to federal employees and establish a tax deduction for all premium payments. The authors maintain that "Gore appears to have concluded that substantially expanding health insurance coverage is not a major national priority," while "Bradley holds that health insurance coverage is a national objective worthy of significant public resources."
Who Will Pay?The authors note that one fundamental difference between the candidates is that "Gore relies almost exclusively on expanding public programs," while "Bradley is willing to spend a lot of tax money to get most Americans into private plans." Gore hopes that financial incentives will "induce states to spend more of their own money to expand coverage," while Bradley maintains that health insurance coverage is an "exclusively federal responsibility." Although the two Democrats offer clearly different proposals, the authors assert that the health care question in not as clear cut among the Republican candidates. The authors conclude that "if the Democratic debate remains mired in attack politics, no meaningful debate across party lines is likely" (1/5).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.