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Health care reform and 2008 elections: New reports examine candidates' plans, public's views
Date:1/15/2008

o the way most people currently obtain coverage, said lead author Sara Collins, Assistant Vice President at The Commonwealth Fund. Most of their plans propose a diminishing role for employers, whereas the leading Democrats favor keeping employers in the game.

The report, Envisioning the Future: The 2008 Presidential Candidates Health Care Reform Proposals, found that while there are wide distinctions between the plans put forth by Republican and Democratic candidates, there are relatively narrow distinctions among the plans within each party. Some of the major differences between parties include:

  • Only Democratic candidates support universal coverage as a goal.

  • While both Republican and Democratic candidates plans are structured around the private market, Republican plans would rely almost exclusively on individual insurance markets without consumer protections to require insurers to extend insurance coverage to people in poor health. In contrast, Democrats plans would broadly pool risk to bring down costs and prevent insurers from denying insurance to Americans in poor health or who are older.

  • Democratic proposals would retain and strengthen the employer role in providing health insurance or pay for part of their employees coverage. Republicans are proposing to change the tax code to provide incentives for individuals to purchase insurance on the private market, which has the potential to significantly reduce employers role in health care coverage.

  • None of the Republican candidates would require that people have health insurance. On the Democratic side, Senator Clinton (D-NY) and former Senator Edwards (D-NC) would require that all Americans eventually have coverage. Senator Obama (D-IL) would require that children have coverage.

  • Currently, none of the Republican candidates have identified financing sources for their reform plans. Of the Democratic candid
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Contact: Mary Mahon
mm@cmwf.org
212-606-3853
Commonwealth Fund
Source:Eurekalert

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