Health care is one of the leading concerns of people in the United States. An estimated 47 million Americans are uninsured and millions more are underinsured. Our country was ranked 37th in a World Health Organization study of national health systems, yet we spend over $2 trillion a year on health care. This cost is 18% of the U.S. GDP–twice as much as any other nation. Some experts predict that expenditures on health care will double in less than ten years.
The next president of the United States will be forced to make critical decisions concerning health policy that will affect the lives of everyone in the U.S. Each of the candidates has put forward his or her own proposals for major change in health care. What do we know about how the candidates are addressing the essential issues of cost, access, efficiency, and quality?
Obama, Clinton, and McCain all agree that every American should have access to affordable health care, however, their proposals differ on how this goal is reached. Obama and Clinton want a universal plan based on federal and free-market solutions. Clinton proposes an “individual mandate” requiring Americans to get insurance. In contrast, Obama would limit his mandate to coverage for all children and would create a new public program for the uninsured. McCain proposes a free-market, consumer-based system where individuals obtain insurance from employers, individual purchases, churches, professional association, etc. He would eliminate tax breaks that create a 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. However, these approaches represent small parts of their overall proposals. What else do we need to know in order to make the right decisions to transform health care?
How do we as members of the voting public effectively navigate, compare, and evaluate the presidential candidates’ health care goals and proposals? Should the government be entrusted with managing health care for the entire nation? Do we have faith in a free-market approach? Which candidate do you think is the best to address issues raised by the average person who is already covered, the un/under-insured, the insurance companies, the pharmaceutical industry, businesses, health care providers, and hospitals? What is the single biggest issue you feel needs to be addressed in health care reforms? What is working that you do not want to see changed?
More About the Illinois Campaign for Better Health Care:
The Illinois Campaign for Better Health Care is a grassroots coalition of more than 300 local and statewide organizations representing consumers, health care workers and providers, community organizations, seniors, religious, labor, disability rights organizations and other citizens concerned about health care and wellness.
The Campaign for Better Health Care (CBHC) was founded in 1989 on the belief that accessible, affordable, quality health care is a basic human right. In 2002, we launched the Health Care Justice Campaign (HCJC) to continue the fight for health care for all Illinois residents. Organizations involved in the HCJC are: the Illinois Hospital Association, Illinois AFL-CIO, the Illinois Academy of Family Physicians, the Metropolitan Healthcare Council, the Council of Religious Leaders of Metropolitan Chicago, United Healthcare and over 100 other organizations.
For more informaiton, please contact Kristin Millikan at 312.422.5580.