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Report Details Presidential Nominees’ Divergent Approaches to Healthcare Reform

Resource type: News

Philanthropy News Digest |

The healthcare reform proposals of presidential nominees John McCain and Barack Obama differ in how many people would be covered and their potential impact on the uninsured, a new report from the Commonwealth Fund finds. The report, The 2008 Presidential Candidates’ Health Reform Proposals: Choices for America, found that both plans seek to expand health insurance for Americans. But while Senator McCain’s plan proposes a shift away from the current system of employer-based insurance and would count employer contributions to health insurance as taxable income to workers, Senator Obama’s would maintain and build on the nation’s current employer and public insurance system, requiring most employers to offer coverage to their employees or contribute to the cost. According to data collected by the Urban Institute and Brookings Institution Tax Policy Center, McCain’s plan would reduce the number of uninsured by two million out of a projected 67 million in ten years, compared with 34 million under Obama’s plan. Obama’s plan also supports universal coverage as a goal, while McCain’s proposes expanding access to health insurance but does not indicate whether covering everyone in the country is a goal. Both candidates offer strategies to improve the quality and efficiency of health care, including expanding the use of health information technology, evaluating the comparative effectiveness of medical treatments, and changing the way providers are paid. Both nominees also have pledged to implement new initiatives through public programs such as Medicare, Medicaid, and SCHIP, as well as through their participating private providers and insurance carriers. “In the current economic crisis, more families are concerned about losing jobs and health insurance coverage. It is even more critical to act now to reform our health system to ensure affordable, efficient, high-quality health care to all Americans,” said Commonwealth Fund president Karen Davis. “As a nation, we need from our next president a long-term vision that will ensure economic security for families and a healthy and productive workforce for the future.” New Analysis of Presidential Candidates? Health Plans Details Divergent Approaches to Health System Reform. Commonwealth Fund Press Release 10/02/08.

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health care reform, SCHIP, Urban Institute