Is it Time for Universal Care?
In noting the similarities among the Democratic party front-runners, the Commonwealth Fund and its Commission on a High Performance Health System says that Senators Hillary Clinton, John Edwards, and Barack Obama want to build on the strengths of the current system by pooling risk in large groups, generating efficiencies through employer-based coverage, and building on the success of public programs such as Medicare, Medicaid and the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP).
The three candidates call for a new purchasing pool to extend health care coverage to individuals not covered under employee plans. Sens. Clinton and Obama suggest an enhanced Federal Employees Health Benefits Program (FEHBP), whereas Sen. Edwards wants a Medicare-like public insurance option in regional health markets. All three would require insurers to guarantee insurance to everyone, regardless of health status. However, Sens. Clinton and Edwards would require everyone to be covered, while Sen. Obama’s proposal mandates coverage only for children.
The Democratic Front-Runners
Already dubbed Hillary Care by many, Sen. Clinton’s plan would require everyone to have health insurance. She would offer a health-choices menu of private insurance options, a refundable tax credit so working families could buy health coverage, and a health care tax credit for small businesses. For those who want to change plans, or who aren’t currently covered, she offers a public plan option similar to Medicare.