Senator McCain, who announced a detailed health plan this fall, has focused more on cutting costs than on covering the uninsured. He notes on his Web site that bringing costs under control is the only way to stop the erosion of affordable health insurance. In addition to tax incentives, he said he wants to contain spending by better treating chronic diseases such as diabetes and heart disease. While developing national standards for measuring and recording treatments and outcomes, he wants to reform Medicare payments to compensate providers for diagnosis, prevention, and care coordination, but not preventable medical errors or mismanagement.
Explore This IssueDecember 2007
He also plans to promote healthier lifestyles for Americans, encourage generic drugs and biologics (including the importation of drugs from Canada), advocate retail walk-in clinics at unconventional locations such as Wal-Mart, and support tort reform to protect physicians who follow national guidelines on care.
Interestingly, although Massachusetts Gov. Romney promoted a comprehensive health care program in his state that required universal coverage and a method for everyone to obtain it, he is opposed to a national version of that plan. He prefers, instead, for each state to develop its own market-based reform, based on each state’s unique needs and characteristics. In an interview with CNN, he said, The last thing we want to do is have the government take over health care, because anything they take over gets worse, not better.
Instead of using federal money to reimburse hospitals for treating people without insurance, Gov. Romney advocates using that money to help low-income people buy insurance at a lower cost. He has also said that the current tax system penalizes those who do not acquire their health insurance through an employer.
Former Senator Fred Thompson had not released details for a health care plan by ENT Today‘s deadline, but he notes on his Web site that those who propose a one-size-fits-all Washington-controlled program ignore the cost, inefficiency and inadequate care that such a system offers….Current government programs must also be streamlined and improved so that those who truly need help can get the health care they need.
Information on the cost of the Republicans’ proposed plans has not been available.
Additional Republican Comment
Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee supports prevention and plans to work with the private sector, Congress, and health care providers to overhaul the system. He proposes a shift from employer-based to consumer-based health care, as well as portable insurance. His proposal calls for a reform of medical liability, the adoption of electronic record keeping, an expansion of health savings accounts, and tax credits for low-income families.