Presidential Candidates Hit on Health Care in ’08 Race
Health care "has returned as a critical issue" in the 2008 presidential race, with a particular focus on preventive care, the Boston Globe reports. In the coming election, "both parties are placing new focus on preventive care as a way of improving public health and ultimately reducing the skyrocketing cost of medical care," the Globe reports.
For example, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee (R) said he would offer financial incentives to those who practice healthy behaviors, while Gov. Bill Richardson (D-N.M.) and former Sen. John Edwards (D-S.C.) also have proposed ideas that focus on preventive care.
Drew Altman, president of the Kaiser Family Foundation, said, "I think you're going to see a prevention component of virtually every candidate's health care reform" plan.
Some health care specialists said the goal of preventive care "would not help slow the escalating cost of overall health care," the Globe reports.
John McDonough, executive director of the Massachusetts-based Health Care For All program, said, "[W]ho can argue against the logic of prevention? The problem is, how do you do it in a way that makes a difference?" (Milligan, Boston Globe, 2/20).
The prospects for overhauling the health care system might be improving as "problems with the health care system have worsened," the Los Angeles Times reports.
According to the Times, this change has come about "primarily because major corporations, labor unions and other players who fought each other to a standstill last time are now united in believing it's time to act." However, the "catch is that the solutions being suggested involve doing less, not more. And most of the proposals place greater burdens on individuals and families," the Times reports.
Robert Blendon of the Harvard School of Public Health said, "In the 1990s, everybody talked about complete, comprehensive coverage for everybody. Now there is more discussion of a minimal or basic package." He added, "Today, we are talking about requiring people to purchase insurance -- and in many cases pay a substantial share of the premium -- and that did not exist in the 1990s" (Alonso-Zaldivar, Los Angeles Times, 2/18).
Issues "once largely walled off to the liberal hinterlands have suddenly gained mainstream acceptance and urgency," New York Times columnist Mark Leibovich writes in an opinion piece. "Presidential candidates, for instance, can now safely utter 'universal health care' without being tarred as supporters of 'socialized medicine,'" Leibovich says (Leibovich, New York Times, 2/18).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.