Republican Candidates for President Discuss Health Care
Five Republican presidential candidates on Friday during a forum at the Iowa State Fair discussed issues related to health care, the Des Moines Register reports.
Divided We Fail, a campaign launched by AARP and other groups that seeks to focus the 2008 presidential election on health care and financial security issues, sponsored the forum.
During the forum, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee said that health care is a "national security issue," adding that "costs are rising at a runaway rate that we can't sustain." Huckabee attributed increased health care costs to treatment of chronic diseases caused by smoking, unhealthy diet and lack of exercise. "We should reward healthy people for the choices they make," he said.
Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney discussed his efforts to enact a state law that requires residents to obtain health insurance with cooperation among Democrats, Republicans and the insurance industry. He added, "It doesn't make sense to have 45 million people in a country like ours" who lack health insurance.
Rep. Duncan Hunter (Calif.) said that he supports increased competition and choice in health care, rather than expansion of public programs. Hunter also criticized benefits requirements for private health plans.
According to former HHS Secretary and Wisconsin Gov. Tommy Thompson, the health care system must focus more on preventive care. He said, "Only 10% of the money is spent to keep you out of the hospital and out of the nursing home. Isn't that a little goofy?" (Roos, Des Moines Register, 8/11).
In related news, Thompson on Sunday announced his withdrawal from the race for the Republican presidential nomination after he finished sixth in a straw poll in Ames, Iowa.
He said, "I felt my record as governor of Wisconsin and Secretary of HHS gave me the experience I needed to serve as president, but I respect the decision of the voters" (Cillizza, Washington Post, 8/13).
Romney won the straw poll with 4,416 votes, followed by Huckabee with 2,587 votes and Republican presidential candidate Sen. Sam Brownback (Kan.) with 2,192 votes (Glover, AP/Forbes, 8/11).
Democratic presidential candidate and former Sen. John Edwards (N.C.) on Friday discussed health care and other issues during two appearances in Las Vegas, the Las Vegas Sun reports.
During appearances before the Laborer's International Union of North America Local 872 and the Culinary Union, Edwards promoted his health insurance proposal.
In addition, Edwards said that he would increase efforts to ensure the safety of imported foods, medications and other products. He said, "We have to do what is necessary to keep the country safe. We need more inspections. We need a president who thinks about American workers and the safety of our families and children."
Democratic presidential candidates Sens. Hillary Rodham Clinton (N.Y.) and Barack Obama (Ill.) last week also made appearances before the Culinary Union (Kanigher, Las Vegas Sun, 8/11).