Saturday, January 5, 2008

Obama Campaign Promises - Obama and Huckabee Health Proposals

Iowa has spoken, and New Hampshire ooms ahead. This is a good time to take a quick look at the health proposals of Iowa winners.

Governor Huckabee’s ideas are,

1. More emphasis on preventive care (His personal massive weight loss of 100 pounds or so, and Arkansas’ status as a national leader in preventing childhood obesity may offer clues to his thinking here)

2. Health care should remain in private sector, but needs improvement.

3. The system should feature more EMRs in doctors’ offices and hospitals. (who should pay isn’t said).

4. Health care should be portable from state to state.

5. Health insurance premiums for individual should be deductible, just as they are for corporations.

Senator Obama’s proposals are more nuanced but smack of economic populism, i.e. bringing down the big boys in health care, big health plans and big Pharma , and giving a bigger role to government.

1. Offering coverage for all by providing a cost savings of $2500 per family

2. .But not making universal coverage mandatory because doing so would be a wealth transfer from the young to the old, the young being a constituency he seeks to cultivate.

3. Compelling competition among health plans (just how is not clear).

4. Having health plans pay more for care and less for profits and administration.

5. Allowing Americans to buy drugs from abroad and let government negotiate drug prices at home for Medicare and Medicaid.

6. Following the lead of such European countries as Switzerland and Germany by offering universal coverall through a mix of market and government-based care.

7. Requiring parents to buy coverage for their children.

8. Requiring all employers of 15 more to provide health benefits or pay subsidies .

One of Senator Obama’s advisors is David Cutler, Harvard economics professor. He says Obama would “guarantee” universal comprehensive coverage by,

1. Having government pick up tab for expensive illnesses.

2. Focusing on preventive care by requiring coverage of scientifically –based preventive tests.

3. Improving quality by having hospitals and doctors publicly report outcomes and quality measures.

4. Requiring a paperless system.

5. Making generic drugs more available and more of the requirment of care.

6. Ending monopolizations of health plans and drug companies.

There you have it.

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