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. Continued from Friday (3 Aug): Duncan Hunter (R): He is against universal health care, believing companies would overcharge if the government paid for health care services. Like Brownback, Hunter says the answer is to allow Americans to shop across state lines, pointing out that a health insurance plan that “can be purchased in Long Beach for $73 costs $334 in New Jersey.” Dennis Kucinich (D): Kucinich is the only candidate who has actually developed a detailed plan for national, single-payer health care, which he has already introduced in Congress. H.R. 676, the Kucinich-Conyers Bill, would establish Medicare for all. Kucinich acknowledges that “Health care is a basic right… it’s time to end this control that insurance companies have not only over health care but over our political system.” John McCain (R): The Arizona senator believes that the solution lies in expansion of existing programs such as tax incentives, the SCHIP program, medical malpractice reform and health savings accounts.
Barack Obama (D): Obama’s plan would mandate coverage for children; he says: “…my emphasis is on driving down the costs, taking on the insurance companies, making sure that they are limited in the ability to extract profits…[and] make sure the drug companies have to do what’s right by their patients.” Ron Paul (R): An outspoken Libertarian, Paul blames the “collusion between politicians, drug companies, and organized medicine” for “stifling competition between providers.” His proposal is to allow the “free market” to determine health care costs by eliminating HMOs, and allow individuals to fully deduct health care costs from their taxes. Mitt Romney (R): He would institute the Massachusetts plan (see 1 August entry) on a national level. He rejects the idea of Medicaid: “Let the insurance companies offer true market-based products…help [people] buy their own private policy. Don’t put them on Medicaid. Get them private insurance.” (Note: Romney has so far received $687,885 in campaign contributions from drug companies and the insurance industry.) Thomas Tancredo (R): Like the others of his party, Tancredo is an advocate of market-based health care. Unlike other Republican candidates, he would consider subsidies for low-income families. Tancredo favors association-type plans that increase buying power of groups of businesses. Thomas Thompson (R): Thompson says that he wants to “build a system that is affordable and accessible for everyone” without “government run health care” which he says discourages ingenuity and innovation.