THIRD PARTY CANDIDATES: Site Compiles Health Care Views
While the mainstream media has focused on major party presidential nominees Texas Gov. George W. Bush (R) and Vice President Al Gore as they discuss Medicare reform and prescription drugs on the campaign trail, several third party candidates have also weighed in on a number of health care issues. Some of their comments, compiled by the Web site Issues2000, appear below.
Rx Drug Prices
- Green Party candidate Ralph Nader, on price controls for prescription drugs: "Price restraints should be placed on all drugs especially developed with taxpayer money, and multiple licenses should be issued for those drugs in order to stimulate competition and bring prices down. The Medicare authorities should negotiate lower drug prices ... The pharmaceutical industry is suffering from a malaise where corporate profits are more highly valued than people's health;"
- Natural Law Party candidate John Hagelin, on a Medicare prescription drug benefit: "My Medicare policy includes 80% reimbursements for those prescription drugs that have been scientifically proven to be effective. Medicare will negotiate the lowest prices for drugs: My prescription drug benefit will not become a form of corporate welfare for the pharmaceutical industry;"
- Libertarian Party candidate Harry Browne, on prescription drug regulation: Patients "should [not] need a prescription from a doctor to get pharmaceuticals from a drug store. It should be [their] decision to make with [their] doctor[s]."
Universal Health Care
- Nader, on a national health care system: "We need universal care which is accessible, affordable, with quality care, and relying on preventive health. We have waited long enough -- we don't need a plan like Bush's or itty-bitty steps like Gore's. ... These people up in Canada stumbled upon something 30 years ago. It's called a universal human right: health care;"
- Socialist Party candidate David McReynolds, on a national health care system: "We need a single payer system of medical care now. We are the only industrial nation which does not have such a program, so that ordinary people are often uncovered, or only partially covered, for the most basic health needs;"
- Reform Party candidate Pat Buchanan, on a national health care system: "I'm not in favor of a national health care system established by the federal government. I'm strongly against Hillary care -- the type of national takeover of something like 7% of gross national product;"
- Browne, on a national health care system: "By getting government out of the health care industry, health care costs will plummet, innovation will increase and more people will have access to the health care they need. ... [G]overnment involvement in health care means forcing people and institutions to do what they don't want to do. And such plans never work out as promised;"
- Constitution Party candidate Howard Phillips, on a national health care system: "Providing health care is not the responsibility of the government."
- Browne, on the effect of the Medicare system: "[B]y reducing the patient's out-of-pocket costs, [Medicare] increased the demand for doctors and hospitals. And it reduced the supply of those services by requiring doctors ... to use their time and attention handling paperwork and complying with regulations. ... [T]he elderly now pay from their own pockets over twice as much for health care (after adjusting for inflation) than they did before Medicare began. And most people now find it harder to get adequate medical service;"
- Hagelin, on reforming Medicare: "[I] suppor[t] financial incentives such as medical savings accounts for Medicare and Medicaid subscribers and vouchers enabling Medicare and Medicaid subscribers to choose any insurance plan or health care provider they desire."
- Buchanan, on assisted suicide: "The campaign to legalize assisted suicide and euthanasia of the mentally disabled, the gravely ill and the elderly ... must be fought on moral as well as legal grounds. We need a president who will declare war on the culture of death;"
- Nader, on assisted suicide: "It's cruel to people who would otherwise not want to die if they had adequate pain relief."
Research, Regulation and the Rest
- Nader, on managed care reform: "Unless reform addresses the imbalances of power and the business-as-usual, profits-before-patients approach of HMO corporations, the public will neither be safe nor satisfied. ... Independent review procedures only work well in conjunction with civil liability and when reviews are truly independent of the HMOs. ... The possibility of damages against an HMO ... will compel the time-sensitive urgent treatment approval that can save a life;"
- Browne, on the FDA and prescription drug approval: "I would get rid of the FDA. People are dying as a result of federal regulation ... Abolish the FDA so that life-saving medicines are available sooner. ... There would be no coercive regulations -- nobody would be saying 'you can't smoke medical marijuana" ... or 'you can't take this medicine because we haven't decided to approve it yet;'"
- Browne, on the government's role in medical research: "All of the really great advances that have taken place in science and medicine have taken place outside the government ... I can only imagine if you didn't have government soaking up so much research money ... a cure for AIDS might have been found five or ten years ago. We need to get the government out of these things ... Government cannot speed up the process. It can only slow it down;"
- Hagelin, on preventive care: "This is the only country in which prevention is illegal. It has been banned by Congress from Medicare and Medicaid, from all of our government health care programs. That is why we have the most expensive disease care system in the world and among the poorest health. ... I would support cost-effective, prevention-oriented health care programs" (Issues2000).