Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Sep. 23: Where They Stand: Health Care (and correction from last week)

By Sylvia Gurinsky

The look at Sens. Barack Obama and John McCain continues this week with health issues. Note: Medicare will be examined in a separate blog posting. Again, sources are Project Vote Smart and the campaign Web sites.

Sen. Barack Obama

*Health Insurance: Obama proposes coverage similar to what members of Congress get (which a woman once asked of Sen. Bob Dole during one of his 1996 debates with President Bill Clinton). There will also be subsidies for those who do not qualify for Medicaid to buy into the new program. Obama also proposes a National Health Insurance Exchange for those who want to buy private insurance, and as a watchdog group. Coverage of all children will be mandatory. Obama supports portability.

In August, 2007, he voted Yes on the reauthorization of the State Children's Health Insurance Program.

*Medicines: Obama supports the reimportation of medicines.

In 2005, he voted Yes on an amendment providing authority for the negotiation of fair prices for Medicare prescription drugs.

*Stem Cell Research: Obama voted Yes on the Stem Cell Research Act of 2007. He voted No on a bill to use only the stem cells of naturally dead embryos.

*Other Issues: Obama did not vote in July on a bill authorizing $48 million to the Global Fund for countries fighting AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis. In February, he did not vote on a bill expanding health care programs for Native Americans. In 2005, he voted Yes on an amendment that would adjust future funding for veteran health care according to inflation and population changes.

For information on Obama's plan:


Sen. John McCain

*Health Insurance: McCain proposes tax credits for families and individuals to offset the cost of insurance. He supports a Guaranteed Access Plan put together by the states for those who have been denied coverage. Last November, McCain did not vote on the Children's Health Insurance Program Reauthorization Act of 2007. In August, 2007, he voted against the State Children's Health Insurance Program Reauthorization. He supports insurance portability and voted Yes on a 1996 bill relating to the issue.

*Medicines: McCain supports the reimportation of medicines. In 2002, he voted Yes on a bill to provide greater access to affordable drugs.

*Stem Cell Research: McCain voted Yes last year on both bills allowing stem cell research and bills allowing it with only naturally dead embryos.

*Other Issues: McCain supports tort reform in medical liability cases. McCain did not vote in February on the Native American health care bill. He did not vote earlier this year on funding to combat AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis in various countries. In 2005, he voted against an amendment to provide funding for the AIDS Drug Assistance Program in the Health Resources and Services Administration. In 2001, he sponsored the Patients' Bill of Rights. In 1999, he voted Yes on an amendment to expand health care services for breast cancer patients.

For more information about McCain's plan:



OpenSecrets.org noted, but I didn't, that the business organizations did not donate to the candidates; it was their political action committees, employees and employees' families. So the Lehman Brothers company itself did not donate.

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