Presidential Candidates Tackle Health Care Issues During Debates
Nine Republican presidential candidates on Sunday during a debate held on the campus of Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa, discussed health care and other issues, the Los Angeles Times reports (Braun, Los Angeles Times, 8/6).
During the 90-minute debate, moderated by ABC's "This Week" host George Stephanopoulos, all of the candidates expressed their opposition to a bill recently passed by the Senate that would reauthorize and expand the State Children's Health Insurance Program. President Bush has threatened to veto the legislation.
Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani promoted his proposal to provide U.S. residents with tax deductions of as much as $15,000 to purchase individual health insurance. He said, "They'll have an incentive to own their own health insurance."
However, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney said, "We have to have our citizens insured, and we're not going to do that by tax exemptions because the people that don't have insurance aren't paying taxes" (Nagourney/Cooper, New York Times, 8/6).
Former HHS Secretary and Wisconsin Gov. Tommy Thompson, who discussed the need to focus on preventive health care, said the U.S. has become a "sickness, illness and disease society" and promised to "end breast cancer by the year 2015 for all the women in America" (Shear, Washington Post, 8/6).
Sens. John McCain (Ariz.) and Sam Brownback(Kan.); Reps. Tom Tancredo (Colo.), Duncan Hunter (Calif.) and Ron Paul (Texas); and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee also participated in the debate (Page, USA Today, 8/6). ABC News video of the comments from the candidates on health care is available online. Expanded ABC News coverage of the role of health care in the 2008 presidential election also is available online (ABC News, 8/5).
On Saturday, seven Democratic presidential candidates during a debate at the Yearly Kos convention in Washington, D.C., discussed health care and other issues, the Washington Post reports.
According to the Post, the 90-minute debate, moderated by New York Times Magazine writer Matt Bai, "displayed many of the qualities for which the blogosphere is known -- it was free-wheeling, occasionally raucous and consistently passionate" (Balz/Vargas, Washington Post, 8/6).
During the debate, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (N.Y.), who "often says she still has scars from her failed attempt to reform health care in the 1990s," said that she did not have adequate time to discuss her health care proposal, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. She said, "It is not enough to have a plan. You've got to have a political strategy. In 90 seconds, I don't have the time to tell you all the mistakes I've made" (Garofoli, San Francisco Chronicle, 8/5).
Sens. Barack Obama (Ill.) and Christopher Dodd (Conn.), former Sens. John Edwards (N.C.) and Mike Gravel (Alaska), Rep. Dennis Kucinich (Ohio) and New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson also participated in the debate (Washington Post, 8/5).