Romney Health Plan Diverges From Massachusetts Law
Although the recently implemented Massachusetts health insurance law represents the "most renowned legislative accomplishment" for former Gov. Mitt Romney (R), his role in the enactment of the legislation has served as a "mixed blessing" for his campaign, the Los Angeles Times reports.
The law requires all Massachusetts residents to obtain health insurance, with subsidies provided for lower-income residents.
According to the Times, conservatives "attack him for too readily adopting" a "big-government solution" to health care reform, and liberals and "even some business allies from Massachusetts" criticize him for his failure to promote the law "more wholeheartedly."
However, analysts "continue to celebrate" the law as an effective compromise on health care reform, the Times reports.
In his campaign's health care reform plan, Romney highlights "traditional Republican solutions," such as tax incentives, health savings accounts and medical malpractice reform (Rainey, Los Angeles Times, 11/13).
During a speech at Plymouth State University in New Hampshire on Monday, former Sen. John Edwards (D-N.C), announced a proposal to help veterans who experience post-traumatic stress disorder, the AP/Boston Herald reports.
According to the Department of Veterans Affairs, the number of veterans who experienced PTSD increased by 70%, or 20,000 cases, during the last fiscal year.
Edwards' proposal would allow veterans to seek counseling for PTSD at health care facilities outside the VA system. In addition, the proposal would expand the number of PTSD counselors employed by VA, increase training for counselors and ask family members to help identify cases.
The proposal would increase the time between deployments for soldiers who return from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
A Defense Department study conducted earlier this year found that insufficient time between deployments can lead to higher rates of PTSD or increased mental stress.
The proposal also would provide all veterans with a comprehensive medical examination as part of a "Homefront Redeployment Plan."
Edwards said that he would finance the proposal, which would cost about $400 million, through the elimination of certain tax breaks and increased efficiency in tax collection practices (AP/Boston Herald, 11/12).
In related news, Edwards on Tuesday in Iowa will launch new advertisements focused on his call to end health insurance for lawmakers in the event that they do not approve legislation to expand health insurance to all U.S. residents within six months after the next president takes office (AP/San Francisco Chronicle, 11/13).
During a meeting with nine women at L.A. Burdick Chocolate in Los Angeles on Monday, Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) said that the U.S. should increase support for working women through an expansion of the federal Family and Medical Leave Act and other measures, the AP/San Francisco Chronicle reports.
Obama has proposed to expand FMLA to cover more employees and to spend $1.5 billion to encourage states to offer paid family leave. Obama said of the lack of support for working women, "It's very similar to the mistake we make with health care in this country, where we don't provide people with health care up front, so people put off basic prevention and we end up seeing them in the emergency room where they pay twice as much" (Ramer, AP/San Francisco Chronicle, 11/12)
The Des Moines Register on Tuesday examined how "the future of the nation's retirement underpinnings is a key issue for presidential candidates" and how the problems with the long-term financial stability of Medicare are "more complicated and immediate" than those with Social Security because of increased health care costs.
Medicare trustees estimate that the hospital trust fund will become insolvent as early as 2019.
In response, some Republican candidates have proposed a reduction in Medicare benefits, with a focus on the prescription drug benefit, to reduce the cost of the program. Some Democratic candidates have proposed to allow Medicare to negotiate directly with pharmaceutical companies for prices under the prescription drug benefit and to increase focus on preventive care to reduce the cost of the program (Norman, Des Moines Register, 11/13).
"Not only" is former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani (R) incorrect "about prostate cancer survival rates in the United States and Britain," but "he's also wrong on his general point: that a single-payer system, of the kind that Republicans call 'socialized' medicine, inevitably would deliver inferior care," Washington Post columnist Eugene Robinson writes.
Robinson cites the results of a "major study conducted earlier this year" by the Commonwealth Fund and Harris Interactive that surveyed residents of Australia, Canada, Germany, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Britain and the U.S. According to Robinson, the study found that respondents in the U.S. "were less likely than those in the other countries to say their health care system 'works well' -- and much more likely to see a need for 'fundamental' change or a total overhaul."
He writes, "I agree with Giuliani that if I had a life-threatening illness, I'd rather be treated here," adding, "But I have health insurance. Millions of Americans don't" (Robinson, Washington Post, 11/13).