McCain, Obama's views on healthcare

With the 2008 Presidential campaign upon us, HealthLeaders Media will post the latest healthcare news surrounding each candidate, as well as breaking healthcare-related news stories from major news outlets across the country.

Healthcare Campaign Issues
Barack Obama

John McCain
Access, universal care Would require healthcare coverage for all children. Employers should offer coverage, or contribute a percentage of payroll toward the cost of a public plan. Promises to offer guaranteed eligibility, comprehensive benefits similar to those offered by the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program, affordable premiums, portability, and choice. Opposes universal coverage and government mandates for healthcare. Says that families should be in charge of their healthcare dollars and have more control over their care. Promises to reform healthcare to make it easier for individuals and families to obtain insurane. Also wants to promote competition to impre the quality of health insurance to match needs, lower prices, and increase portability.
Bringing down costs Would lower costs by "modernizing the system," including the improvement of prevention/treatment for chronic illnesses. Would require transparency among healthcare providers in regards to costs and quality measures. Reform medical malpractice laws by improving antitrust laws and creating new models for handling errors by physicians. Also says the increased use of electronic health information technology systems and more competition among insurers would lower costs. Promotes providing quality, cheaper care for chronic diseases, and lowering drug prices. Supports coordianted care among providers to offer better outcomes at lower costs. Promote competition through quality incentives. Enforce federal protections against collusion and unfair business practices. Permit sale of nationwide insurance, and provide consumers with more information on treatment options.  Also would require providers to make treatment outcomes public, and encourages states to lower costs on their own by providing flexibility to experiment with various forms of care and insurance coverage.
Medicaid/CHIP Would create a new public health plan, as well as expand Medicaid and SCHIP programs to ensure that the program continue to serve their safety net function. Maintain the existing state health reform plans and encourages experimentation as long as they meet the minimum standards of the national plan. Also would mandate that all children have healthcare coverage, and expand the number of options for young adults to get coverage. Would reform the payment system to compensate providers for diagnosis prevention, and care coordination. Give states the flexibility to, and encourage them to experiment with: alternative forms of access; risk-adjusted payments per episode covered under Medicaid; use of private insurance in Medicaid; alternative insurance policies and insurance providers; and, different licensing schemes for medical providers.
Promoting IT, electronic health records Would invest $10 billion a year for the next five years to move the U.S. healthcare system to adopt a standards-based EHR system, and will phase in requirements for full implementation of health IT. Also says privacy is a top priority.

Promotes the "rapid deployment of 21st century information systems" and technology that allows doctors to practice along state lines. Also, when cost effective, promotes the use of telemedine for rural and underserved areas.

How will they pay for it? The $50- 65 billion plan would be financed primarily from savings in the healthcare system. More revenue would come from ending tax cuts for those with incomes more than $250,000. Specifics have been limited thus far, but says that cost containment measures would make insurance more affordable.

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