Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Looking at the Frontrunners for President

In looking at the candidates for president currently, I most notice the dramatic differences between the Republican and Democratic candidates. Looking at the websites can immediately provide images as well as detailed explanations of their "plans". Mitt Romney's "issues" area seems to immediately stress - defense and security issues. Barack Obama's website has issues in alphabetical order where "Civil Rights" comes first.

I've tried to choose below the issues of health care reform and abortion rights. One could easily look at many other issues. I wasn't able to find Obama's position on abortion, however I believe he supports Roe vs. Wade, which Clinton supports and the Republican candidates indicate they will work to overturn.

In my estimation one can debate within parties what is best. I would hope, perhaps naively, that one readily sees the differences between the Republicans and Democrats and that one's biases will push one strongly in one direction or the other.

What follows is copied and pasted from the websites themselves

Romney: www.mittromney.com

Use A Free Market, Federalist Approach To Make Quality, Affordable Health Insurance Available To Every American

Deregulate State Markets. Encourage states to eliminate the cumbersome insurance regulations that drive costs up and providers out of the market.

Fix The Tax Code. Level the playing field by making all health care expenses tax deductible, eliminating the special treatment afforded employer-provided health plans.

Stop The Free-Riders. Use some of the money currently spent on providing expensive "free care" for the uninsured at emergency rooms to instead help the truly needy buy private insurance.

Reform The Medical Liability System. Institute federal caps on non-economic and punitive damage awards to eliminate frivolous lawsuits and bring an end to the practice of defensive medicine.

Promote Innovation In Medicaid. Give states flexibility to spend their Medicaid dollars in whatever way they find most efficient and effective.

Bring Health Care Into The 21st Century. Improve quality and enhance transparency by introducing the same competitive forces that drive innovation in other sectors of the economy.


Promote A Culture Of Life. As President, Governor Romney will promote a culture of life. Governor Romney believes that Roe v. Wade should be overturned so that the issue of abortion can be returned to the American people and their elected representatives at the state and federal level.


McCain: www.johnmccain.com

  • Reform the tax code to eliminate the bias toward employer-sponsored health insurance, and provide all individuals with a $2,500 tax credit ($5,000 for families) to increase incentives for insurance coverage. Individuals owning innovative multi-year policies that cost less than the full credit can deposit remainder in expanded health savings accounts.
  • Families should be able to purchase health insurance nationwide, across state lines, to maximize their choices, and heighten competition for their business that will eliminate excess overhead, administrative, and excessive compensation costs from the system.
  • Insurance should be innovative, moving from job to home, job to job, and providing multi-year coverage.
  • Require any state receiving Medicaid to develop a financial "risk adjustment" bonus to high-cost and low-income families to supplement tax credits and Medicaid funds.
  • Allow individuals to get insurance through any organization or association that they choose: employers, individual purchases, churches, professional association, and so forth. These policies will be available to small businesses and the self-employed, will be portable across all jobs, and will automatically bridge the time between retirement and Medicare eligibility. These plans would have to meet rigorous standards and certification.
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Overturning Roe v. Wade John McCain believes Roe v. Wade is a flawed decision that must be overturned, and as president he will nominate judges who understand that courts should not be in the business of legislating from the bench. Constitutional balance would be restored by the reversal of Roe v. Wade, returning the abortion question to the individual states. The difficult issue of abortion should not be decided by judicial fiat.


Clinton: www.hillaryclinton.com

Hillary's American Health Choices Plan covers all Americans and improves health care by lowering costs and improving quality. It speaks to American values, American families, and American jobs.

It puts the consumer in the driver's seat by offering more choices and lowering costs. If you're one of the tens of million Americans without coverage or if you don't like the coverage you have, you will have a choice of plans to pick from and that coverage will be affordable. Of course, if you like the plan you have, you can keep it.

  • Affordable: Unlike the current health system where insurance premiums send people into bankruptcy, the plan provides tax credits for working families to help them cover their costs. The tax credits will ensure that working families never have to pay more than a limited percentage of their income for health care.
  • Available: No discrimination. The insurance companies can't deny you coverage if you have a pre-existing condition.
  • Reliable: It's portable. If you change or lose your job, you keep your health care.

If you have a plan you like, you keep it. If you want to change plans or aren't currently covered, you can choose from dozens of the same plans available to members of Congress, or you can opt into a public plan option like Medicare. And working families will get tax credits to help pay their premiums.

Small businesses are the engine of new job growth in the U.S. economy but face bigger challenges when it comes to providing health care for their employees. Hillary would give tax credits to small businesses that provide health care to their workers to help defray their coverage costs. This will make small businesses more competitive and help create good jobs with health benefits that will stay here in the US.

Insurance companies won't be able to deny you coverage or drop you because their computer model says you're not worth it. They will have to offer and renew coverage to anyone who applies and pays their premium. And like other things that you buy, they will have to compete for your business based on quality and price. Families will have the security of knowing that if they become ill or lose their jobs, they won't lose their coverage.

Nobody has worked harder or longer to improve health care than Hillary Clinton. From her time in Arkansas when she improved rural health care to her successful effort to create the SCHIP Children's Health Insurance program which now covers six million children, Hillary has the strength and experience to ensure that every man, woman and child in America has quality, affordable health care.


When it comes to each woman's ability to make the most personal of life decisions, Hillary has stood firm as an advocate for a woman's right to choose.


Obama: www.barackobama.com

  • Obama's Plan to Cover Uninsured Americans: Obama will make available a new national health plan to all Americans, including the self-employed and small businesses, to buy affordable health coverage that is similar to the plan available to members of Congress. The Obama plan will have the following features:
    1. Guaranteed eligibility. No American will be turned away from any insurance plan because of illness or pre-existing conditions.
    2. Comprehensive benefits. The benefit package will be similar to that offered through Federal Employees Health Benefits Program (FEHBP), the plan members of Congress have. The plan will cover all essential medical services, including preventive, maternity and mental health care.
    3. Affordable premiums, co-pays and deductibles.
    4. Subsidies. Individuals and families who do not qualify for Medicaid or SCHIP but still need financial assistance will receive an income-related federal subsidy to buy into the new public plan or purchase a private health care plan.
    5. Simplified paperwork and reined in health costs.
    6. Easy enrollment. The new public plan will be simple to enroll in and provide ready access to coverage.
    7. Portability and choice. Participants in the new public plan and the National Health Insurance Exchange (see below) will be able to move from job to job without changing or jeopardizing their health care coverage.
    8. Quality and efficiency. Participating insurance companies in the new public program will be required to report data to ensure that standards for quality, health information technology and administration are being met.
  • National Health Insurance Exchange: The Obama plan will create a National Health Insurance Exchange to help individuals who wish to purchase a private insurance plan. The Exchange will act as a watchdog group and help reform the private insurance market by creating rules and standards for participating insurance plans to ensure fairness and to make individual coverage more affordable and accessible. Insurers would have to issue every applicant a policy, and charge fair and stable premiums that will not depend upon health status. The Exchange will require that all the plans offered are at least as generous as the new public plan and have the same standards for quality and efficiency. The Exchange would evaluate plans and make the differences among the plans, including cost of services, public.
  • Employer Contribution: Employers that do not offer or make a meaningful contribution to the cost of quality health coverage for their employees will be required to contribute a percentage of payroll toward the costs of the national plan. Small employers that meet certain revenue thresholds will be exempt.
  • Mandatory Coverage of Children: Obama will require that all children have health care coverage. Obama will expand the number of options for young adults to get coverage, including allowing young people up to age 25 to continue coverage through their parents' plans.
  • Expansion Of Medicaid and SCHIP: Obama will expand eligibility for the Medicaid and SCHIP programs and ensure that these programs continue to serve their critical safety net function.
  • Flexibility for State Plans: Due to federal inaction, some states have taken the lead in health care reform. The Obama plan builds on these efforts and does not replace what states are doing. States can continue to experiment, provided they meet the minimum standards of the national plan.

Lower Costs by Modernizing The U.S. Health Care System

  • Reducing Costs of Catastrophic Illnesses for Employers and Their Employees: Catastrophic health expenditures account for a high percentage of medical expenses for private insurers. The Obama plan would reimburse employer health plans for a portion of the catastrophic costs they incur above a threshold if they guarantee such savings are used to reduce the cost of workers' premiums.

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