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The Next President Could Cost You Your LIFE! Health Insurance is a Big Issue Health insurance has been one of the major talking points leading up the 2008 Presidential Election. If you care about the future health and well being of all Americans, this brochure will help you sort through the hype and choose the best candidate to be President of the United States.

45 Million People in the U.S. Don’t Have Health Insurance: So What? 

Americans are dying! Studies show that 22,000 adults die prematurely each year because they don’t have health insurance. (That is 5 times greater than the total number of Americans killed in the Iraqi war.)

 We’re not getting our money’s worth! We spend nearly $7,000 a year per person for health care, yet 45 million people don’t have insurance. Plus we have the highest infant mortality rate amongst modern countries. How Can The Next President Help? There are many things the next president could do to help Americans including changing the current health insurance system. With the right plan, Americans could see these results:

America’s health insurance system is like a patchwork quilt that was never quite finished; it leaves many people uncovered. Many Americans with insurance are left “underinsured;” their insurance does not cover conditions that they already have.

1. Lower number of uninsured in 1st year 2. Lower projected number of uninsured in 10 years 3. Insure all children

Figure 1. Health Insurance Patchwork Quilt The missing piece of the quilt labeled “Uninsured,” represents 15.8% of people in the U.S. who had no health insurance for the entire previous year.


Figure 2. America's Uninsured Have Jobs

4. Insure all Americans

Eight out of ten uninsured Americans live in households where at least one person works.

5. Improve quality of coverage

 Most uninsured Americans come from hard working families and the number of uninsured is growing rapidly!

6. Improve quality of health care delivery system 7. Optimize health care spending On the next page, you will find a quick reference chart showing which Presidential candidates’ health care proposal promises the best results.

UC Berkeley Extension – Health Policy in the United States – Assignment 2 | Sarah H. Zitsman

Quick Reference Chart: How do the Presidential Candidates Measure Up?


= Better,

= Neutral,

= Worse

Senator Barack Obama

Senator John McCain

1. Lower number of uninsured in 1st year 2. Lower projected number of uninsured in 10 years 3. Insure all children 4. Insure all Americans 5. Improve quality of coverage 6. Improve quality of health care delivery system 7. Optimize health care spending


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Presidential Candidates’ Health Care Plans: The Facts Behind the Score Card 1. Lower number of uninsured in 1st year

2. Lower projected number of uninsured in 10 years Obama

Obama Senator Obama’s plan, once enacted, could lower the number of uninsured individuals by 18 million people in 2009. This would happen by making more plans available via employers and a National Health Insurance Exchange, and by lowering the cost through subsidies for purchasing insurance and creation of an optional public plan.

McCain Senator McCain’s plan, once enacted, would also lower the current number of uninsured by about 1.3 million. This overall modest decrease would come from the increase of individuals buying insurance on the open market with tax credits coupled with the loss of insurance for many because of the removal of tax exemptions for employer based insurance. Under McCain’s plan employer health benefits will become taxable; thus it will take away incentives for business to supply this costly benefit.

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Over the course of 10 years, the number of uninsured that would obtain coverage would continue to increase with the Obama plan. By continuing to make insurance accessible and affordable using the National Health Insurance Exchange and by using incentives for businesses to insure their employees, the number of uninsured will be decreased by 34 million. Although this outcome is very significant, Obama’s plan maintains our current system of putting a heavy burden on America’s businesses.

McCain Ten years from now, with the McCain healthcare plan in effect, the number of uninsured individuals in America will actually increase by over 10 million. The heart of McCain’s plan is offering $2,500 to individuals and $5,000 in tax credits to families to buy insurance. Currently, the cost of insurance for an average American family is more than double this. Because the cost of healthcare increases faster than inflation, the tax credits will become less and less helpful to Americans trying to purchase insurance on the open market.

3. Insure all children Obama Although highly controversial to some, Obama’s health plan includes a mandate stating that all children must have health insurance. In order to help parents meet this requirement, Obama’s plan will expand eligibility for Medicaid and SCHIP making it easier for lower earners to provide health insurance for their children.

McCain When it comes to making sure all children are insured, McCain’s plan is neutral at best. Although his plan does offer tax credits to families in order to purchase insurance, McCain’s plan does not offer more public programs for children nor does it put in effect any requirements for parents to guarantee their children are insured. Additionally, many families will lose their employer based insurance policies, leaving their children uninsured.

4. Insure all Americans Obama One of the biggest problems with Obama’s healthcare plan is that even after ten years millions of Americans will be without insurance. His policy is rated neutral because he does significantly reduce the number of uninsured.

McCain As mentioned earlier, McCain’s plan over the long term will not reduce the number of uninsured. In fact, in 10 years, more individuals will be without insurance than there are today. His plan’s major goal is to lower the cost of health care in the United States, and not to ensure that more people have access to care.

5. Improve quality of coverage Obama A major piece of Obama’s health plan includes the formation of the National Health Insurance Exchange. In addition to making health insurance accessible and affordable to all individuals, regardless of pre-existing conditions, the Exchange would set minimum standards for health insurance policies. This would set a federal standard for health insurance and would likely improve the overall quality of coverage.

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McCain In opposition to Obama’s plan, McCain’s health care plan relies heavily on the ability of individuals to purchase health insurance in other states. Currently, regulations that guarantee the consumer minimum standards of coverage are enforced at the state level. By allowing individuals to purchase outside their own state, McCain’s plan will effectively negate any minimum standards for coverage. Eventually, all states will have to abandon strong consumer protection to avoid having only the sickest and most expensive to insure in their states.

6. Improve quality of health care delivery system Obama Obama’s health care plan contains a number of action items aimed at improving the overall quality of the health care system. These range from the creation of an independent institute to evaluate treatment efficacy spanning to the establishment of performance based rewards to practitioners working with the National Health Insurance Exchange and other government programs.

McCain McCain’s health care plan also includes a number of steps to improve the quality of the health care delivery system. In addition to establishing national standards for medical care, he proposes creating a strong technology infrastructure to share medical results. McCain’s plan would also push for greater transparency from health care providers and facilities.

7. Optimize health care spending Obama Senator Obama plans to optimize health care spending in part by investing heavily in information technology. Also, his plan stipulates that the Federal government be allowed to negotiate with drug companies for reasonable prices in the same manner as large health insurance companies. His plan also aims to optimize health care spending through management of chronic illnesses coupled with better prevention and public health efforts.

McCain Senator McCain also proposes to invest in prevention and management of chronic illnesses in order to improve health care spending. Additionally, he plans to promote alternative providers and increase competition amongst providers. Yet, McCain’s plan scored neutral because the overall increase in the number of uninsured individuals means health care spending cannot really be optimized.

Pres. Candidates 08-Health Policy-S. Zitsman  

Easy reference analysis of United States Presidential Candidates health policies for 2008 election.

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