Presidential Candidates Campaign on Health Care
Presidential candidates Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.), former Sen. John Edwards (D-N.C.), former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee (R) and former HHS Secretary Tommy Thompson (R) last week discussed health care issues. Summaries of their comments appear below.
Clinton on Friday in a speech in New Hampshire criticized the record of the Bush administration on health care and a number of other issues and said the administration has "shaken the faith of many Americans in our government," the New York Times reports.
In a speech to about 250 students and faculty at the New Hampshire Institute of Politics at St. Anselm College, Clinton said that the Bush administration "has tried to turn Washington into an evidence-free zone, whether it's on stem cell research or Plan B contraception or pollution or global warming or the safety of our food, or the quality of our air." She added that recent problems with the conditions at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in part resulted because of the privatization of government services under the Bush administration.
Clinton said, "When the Army was forced to outsource maintenance to private contractors, the number of people doing maintenance dropped dramatically, the contractor cut corners, fell down on the job, and our soldiers paid the price" (Confessore, New York Times, 4/14).
Edwards last week participated in "Work a Day in My Shoes," a program sponsored by the Service Employees International Union in which presidential candidates join health care employees for one day of work to help understand the challenges they face, the AP/San Francisco Chronicle reports. As part of the program, Edwards helped dress, shave and deliver breakfast to elderly residents of a nursing home outside of New York City.
After the visit, Edwards said his health care proposal would help cover the cost of long-term care at nursing homes (Fouhy, AP/San Francisco Chronicle, 4/11).
The U.S. economy would benefit in the event that residents ate less, exercised more and quit smoking, Huckabee said on Thursday in Utah, the Salt Lake City Deseret Morning News reports.
In a speech to several hundred attendees of a midyear convention for the Utah League of Cities and Towns, Huckabee called the U.S. health care system a "sick care system" and said local governments could make a difference in the health of their employees.
Huckabee said, "There is no other issue in America that is more ominous than the health crisis. The focus is on spending money on people who are sick and probably wouldn't need to be if they chose to live healthy lives" (Perkins, Salt Lake City Deseret Morning News, 4/13).
Thompson last week in Washington, D.C., said that his proposal of "transformation" for the U.S. health care system would include efforts to improve preventive care, promote healthy lifestyles, encourage smoking cessation and increase the use of electronic health records, CQ HealthBeat reports.
Thompson discussed the proposal with the National Coalition on Health Care at a forum. Thompson said that private health insurers should have an important role in efforts to expand access to coverage and that he opposes a single-payer system (Fils, CQ HealthBeat, 4/12).