Los Angeles Times Examines Democratic Presidential Candidates’ Health Care Proposals
The Los Angeles Times on Thursday examined the "political paradox" in which U.S. voters in polls rank health care as an important concern but also cite health care is a "nonissue" in their decisions on which Democratic presidential candidate to support. Voter polls indicate that "none of the contenders has found a way to draw clear distinctions" among their health care proposals, according to the Times. Most of the proposals would improve access to health insurance through an expansion of public programs, would "minimize changes" for individuals who currently have coverage and would "avoid confrontations with business," the Times reports. According to the Times, the "key distinctions" in the proposals "center on diverging approaches for controlling rising health care costs," an issue on which the candidates have not focused. Kenneth Thorpe, a former health official in the Clinton administration, said that the proposals introduced by Sens. John Kerry (D-Mass.) and Joseph Lieberman (D-Conn.), former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean (D) and retired Army Gen. Wesley Clark (D) would expand health insurance to similar numbers of individuals at similar costs. The proposal introduced by Sen. John Edwards (D-N.C.) is "less ambitious in reach and cost," and Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio) has proposed a single-payer, universal health coverage system that would cost about $600 billion per year, the Times reports. According to the Times, the health care issue also "looms as one of the clearest contrasts" between the Democratic presidential candidates and President Bush, who has proposed tax credits of as much as $1,000 for individuals and as much as $3,000 for some families to purchase health insurance (Brownstein, Los Angeles Times, 1/29).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.