Friday, December 16, 2011

Where the Republican Candidates Stand on Health Care

As I was watching the Republican Presidential Debate last night, I thought I would take a closer look at the candidate's websites to find more details about where they stood on healthcare. No matter what your view is on the Patient Protection Affordable Care Act is (also known as Obamacare), the United States Supreme Court will be hearing Constitutional challenges to it, probably in March 2012. Thus, it is going to be a very important issue throughout the election. Of the six candidates, what I found interesting is that two of them have no information about what they would do to fix the healthcare system. A person by person breakdown is listed below, along with links to the sections of their websites discussing healthcare or their stands on various issues. The list is provided in alphabetical order.

1. NEWT GINGRICH: Gingrich lists 13 main ways he would improve healthcare, which include various specifics. This includes use of tax credits, purchase of insurance across state lines (to improve competition), expanding choices in Medicare, customizing state Medicaid systems, establishing a high risk people to cover the sickest uninsured citizens, preventing insurers from cancelling insurance on people who are very sick or giving them discriminatory rates, extending health savings accounts, rewarding the best healthcare provided at the lowest cost, taking steps to reduce healthcare fraud (e.g., electronic medical records), medical tort reform, reforming the FDA,  helping people find information on price and quality of healthcare, and investing in medical research.

2. MITT ROMNEY: Romney lists six main ways he would improve healthcare, which alos contain various specifics. He states that would begin his Presidency by granting an executive order to states to opt out of Obamacare, ask Congress to repeal Obamacare, and emphasizing reforms at the state level. The second area Romney cites involves focusing on the states by block granting funds for Medicaid patients and the uninsured. He also promotes a tax deduction to allow people to purchase their own health insurance. His fourth main idea is reforming federal regulations such as allowing people to purchase insurance across state lines. His fifth idea is medical tort reform. Lastly, he promotes the use of health savings accounts.

3. RON PAUL: He pledges to repeal Obamacare (although you need Congressional support for that), allow purchase of insurance across sate lines, provide tax credits and deductions for all medical expenses, exempt terminally ill patients from the employee portion of the payroll tax, provide payroll deductions for close family members of terminally ill patients, medical tort reform, preventing Medicare & Medicaid funds for being used for other purposes, allow all Americans to open health savings accounts, promoting alternative medicines and supplements, and preventing a national database of personal health information.

4. MICHELE BACHMANN: She states that she will repeal Obamacare, stabilizing Medicare for future generations,promoting medical innovation and personal choice, promoting competition in the healthcare market, and empowering health care providers to make decisions about the shape and form of your health insurance.

5. JOHN HUNTSMAN: While his website contains sections on jobs and the economy, national security, foreign policy, energy security, and financial regulatory reform, there is no section on healthcare.

6. RICK SANTORUM: While his website contains information on defending the taxpayer, American exceptionalism, faith and family, Iran, and other topics, there is no section on healthcare.

Interestingly, the two candidates with no clear distinct section on healthcare on their websites are generally running lowest in the polls.

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