Support Single-Payer Health Care, Part 4

So far, nineteen candidates are competing for the White House in 2008. All but two, Virginia governor James Gilmore and Tennessee-born actor Fred Thompson, have addressed the issue of health care in the U.S. Here then are the positions the candidates have so far taken. Joseph Biden Jr. (D): Biden would immediately cover all children under 18 and provide catastrophic coverage to those who cannot afford it. He suggests that individual states take the initiative; once a majority of states have plans in place, create a national program using the most workable elements of each. Samuel Brownback (R): He suggests that “increased consumer choice…control and competition” will solve the problem. Believes in “price transparency,” and that coverage plans should be tailored to individual needs, including purchasing insurance from a different state than that in which one lives. Hillary Clinton (D): Her “American Health Choices” plan requires all Americans to have coverage, with the choice of retaining private insurance or buying into a public health plan. Large companies would be required to contribute to employees’ health costs. Such costs would be subsidized through tax credits.

Christopher Dodd (D): He advocates universal coverage subsidized by employers and the federal government, with an emphasis on preventive care. He would extend Medicare to more low-income families and individuals, and believes in more effective use of technology. John Edwards (D): Edwards has declared his intention to “cover every single American…bring down costs for everybody,” and “help them pay the cost.” His plan is based on government subsidies and creation of “health care markets so we have more competition.” Rudolf Giuliani (R): The former NYC mayor proposes a tax exemption of up to $15,000 per family, which could be directed toward medical expenses. He makes no promises of universal coverage, however. Michael Gravel (D): Gravel’s plan would issue vouchers to every American. Each voucher would have “modest” co-pays and deductibles, and would be based on “risk factors” in keeping with practices of the private insurance industry. Michael Huckabee (R). Huckabee rejects universal health care by “federal edict” or “higher taxes.” He would focus on prevention and will “advocate policies that will encourage the private sector to…bring down costs and improve the free market for services.” He is a strong supporter of “market-based approaches” at the state level. To be continued…