Where Do the Candidates Stand on Health Care?


            Throughout the historic 2008 presidential campaign, much attention has been given to the personalities of the candidates.  Many know that John McCain survived a horrific ordeal as a POW in Vietnam.  Many know that Obama was raised by a single mother in Hawaii, who sometimes had to go on welfare to support her children.  And many are now aware of Sarah Palin’s pregnant teenage daughter and the death of Joe Biden’s wife in an automobile crash over 30 years ago.

            However, if you ask many supporters of Obama or McCain, very few can tell you where their candidates stand on such issues as health care.  Consequently, 45 million Americans live without adequate health care.

            Both presidential candidates plan to guarantee health care for all Americans. 

            “We now face an opportunity—and an obligation—to turn the page on the failed politics of yesterday’s health care debates…My plan begins by covering every American,” said Obama in 2007.  “If you already have health insurance, the only thing that will change for you under this plan is the amount of money you will spend on premiums.  That will be less.  If you are one of the 45 million Americans who don’t have health insurance, you will have it after this plan becomes law.  No one will be turned away because of a preexisting condition or illness.”

            Obama believes not enough money is spent on prevention and public health, citing the obesity epidemic in this country.  According to his website, less than four cents of every medical dollar is spent on prevention.    His health plan will provide subsidies for working families that do not qualify for Medicaid and Medicare and allow participants to move to different jobs without changing plans.

            McCain wants to put the patients in control of their health care plan by encouraging competition among insurance companies with a greater variety, lower costs and like Obama portability of insurance plans.  The Arizona senator will allow citizens to remain with their company’s insurance but will give every family a direct refundable tax credit totaling $5,000 and $2,500 for individuals to offset the high cost of health care.  He is also encouraging health savings accounts, which would allow families to control what options they pay for.

            Senator Obama’s plan would create a National Health Insurance Exchange, which would act as a watchdog group by implementing rules and standards for insurance companies to guarantee fairness and accessibility.

            The GOP hopeful will attempt to encourage greater competition within our drug market through a quicker development of generic prescription drugs.  The Democratic nominee plans to allow Americans to buy their meds from other developed countries if the prices are lower outside the country.  He will increase the use of generic medicine in Medicare and Medicaid and stop big drug companies from prohibiting generic drugs in the marketplace.

            Both candidates favor utilizing technological advancements to assist doctors in their daily operations.  In addition, both favor reforming insurance to prevent frivolous lawsuits against doctors.  And Obama favors mandatory health care coverage for children, allowing young Americans coverage under their parents’ insurance until age 25.

            Whether you are Democrat or Republican, young or old, rich or poor, issues such as health care are life or death situation for many Americans.  And unlike other publications Regal Magazine will dedicate the next two months to covering the issues that are most important to all Americans, not the issues that will have no affect on providing a better future for Americans.

Smith is publisher of Regal Black Men’s Magazine.

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