Republican Candidates for President Tackle Health Care
Republican presidential candidates during the third debate of the campaign on Tuesday discussed health care, immigration, gun control and religion, among other issues, the Washington Post reports.
Ten candidates participated in the debate, including the "three GOP front-runners" -- former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani, Sen. John McCain (Ariz.) and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney -- who "each had moments in which they shined," the Post reports. Actor and former Sen. Fred Thompson (Tenn.), who is considering a presidential bid, did not participate in the debate (Balz/Shear, Washington Post, 6/6).
Romney "had the most at stake" when discussing health care during the debate because "he signed one of the nation's few measures aimed at extending insurance coverage to everyone," USA Today reports. According to USA Today, Romney "had recently distanced himself from the legislation," but on Tuesday he "proudly" said, "I'm the guy who actually tackled this issue" (Wolf/Lawrence, USA Today, 6/6). Romney added, "We're going to have insurance for all of our citizens they can afford, that's theirs, that's portable. They never have to worry about losing it. That's the answer" (CNN debate transcript, 6/5).
Giuliani during the debate criticized some Democratic health care proposals as "socialized medicine." He said that families should receive a $15,000 tax deduction to buy their own health insurance, similar to car or homeowner's insurance (USA Today, 6/6). Giuliani added that individuals should have access to a health savings account, in order to "put some money aside to pay for your ordinary medical expenses" (CNN debate transcript, 6/5).
Former Wisconsin Gov. Tommy Thompson during the debate said, "We spend $2 trillion on health care. That's 16% of the gross national product. Ninety-three percent of the cost of health care goes into waiting until after you become sick," adding, "Only 7% of the money is used to keep you well in the first place" (Parsons/McCormick, Chicago Tribune, 6/6).
Thompson said that "we have 125 million Americans that have one or more chronic illnesses. In order to change this, we have to educate the American people about tobacco, about diabetes, about cardiovascular and about obesity." Thompson added that lawmakers should focus on preventive health and the implementation of electronic health records (CNN debate transcript, 6/5).
The debate, which took place at Saint Anselm College, was sponsored by CNN, WMUR-TV and the Manchester Union Leader. The debate was moderated by CNN's Wolf Blitzer (Washington Post, 6/6).
A CNN transcript of the complete debate is available online. Video and expanded CNN coverage also are available online.