At one time, Senators John McCain and Barack Obama were both considered the underdog choices to receive nominations for the 2008 presidential election.
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Explore This IssueSeptember 2008
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At press time, it was expected that Sen. McCain (R-Ariz.) would be nominated by the Republican party at the convention in St. Paul, Minn., while Sen. Obama (D-Ill.) would receive the Democratic nomination at the party’s convention in Denver. There are many important points to discuss regarding this year’s election, but among the most important for physicians, health care professionals, and the patients they treat is health care.
Both presidential candidates have strong, decisive views on health care, and there are several areas that should be reviewed when looking at each candidate’s health care policy. Below are details on a few of these areas and information regarding each candidate’s policies.*
Universal health care: The question of whether there should be a mandate that all people have insurance or if all employers should provide coverage to their employees is a facet of health policy that is frequently discussed during presidential elections. Sen. McCain believes the current health care programs in the United States should be expanded through tax credits and incentives and does not believe that the government should impose mandates on individuals or employers for health insurance. Sen. Obama believes that all children should have mandatory health insurance. This coverage would be achieved through a choice of a public or private health insurance plans and would include tax incentives based on income.
State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP): This program was up for renewal at the end of September 2007 and is part of a continuous resolution (S.2499) that will keep funding available until March 31, 2009. SCHIP is a program that is continuously running out of funds on the state level. In general, the Democratic party would like to expand the program to encompass more children for a longer period of time, and the Republican party prefers that, if the program is expanded, it be done at the state level through state resources—instead of through more money on the federal level. On this issue, Sens. McCain and Obama share the viewpoints of their individual parties.
Disease prevention and evidence-based medicine: These two topics are often intertwined and have a large impact on the medical community. Investing in disease prevention saves future economies money because this allows diseases to be prevented, cured, or maintained. Sen. Obama has stated that chronic disease prevention is a necessity for the U.S. health care system and believes that it is a responsibility shared by many. Sen. McCain agrees that disease prevention is a vital part of health policy, as is evidence-based medicine. He is also in favor of national standards for measuring and recording treatments and outcomes.