Newspapers Examine Political Response to Issue of the Uninsured
Two newspapers on Thursday examined various proposals to expand coverage to the uninsured and the potential political implications of such plans. Many legislators and policy experts have been discussing the issue of the uninsured this week as part of "Cover the Uninsured Week," a campaign led by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Summaries of the articles appear below.
Hartford Courant: The Courant on Wednesday examined the "vast differences" among several health care proposals currently being considered by legislators. Officials for "Cover the Uninsured Week" said that they do not expect to reach consensus on health care issues during the campaign, but rather are aiming "to put the issue before the politicians and the public," the Courant reports. The Courant provided details for health care proposals from President Bush, presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Sen. John Kerry (Mass.) and plans by members of the Senate and House. Kate Sullivan, director of health policy for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, said, "The solutions are out there. What is required is political will." Sen. Gordon Smith (R-Ore.) added, "Health care is the emerging issue of the [presidential] campaign (and) will be a tremendous issue this fall" (MacDonald, Hartford Courant, 5/13).
- Los Angeles Times: Despite the "growing public concern about cost, quality and availability of health care," the "war in Iraq, terrorism fears and the federal budget deficit" will determine "what, if anything, comes of all the talk," the Times reports. Some political analysts say that recent proposals on the uninsured "have almost nothing in common and come wrapped in political invective directed at the other side," according to the Times. Robert Blendon, a professor and health policy analyst at the Harvard School of Public Health, said, "How much [the issue of health care] plays out in 2004 depends on how much the cloud blows over on Iraq and terrorism, but in 2006, these issues are likely to be much larger." Republican pollster Bill McInturff said that the gathering debate on health care issues "will make both (presidential) candidates commit to more action than we've seen since 1992" (Kemper, Los Angeles Times, 5/13).