Clinton talks health care in online forum

The up-and-coming trend for 2008 presidential hopefuls of participating in online-only campaign forums, such as the YouTube.com debates, continued Thursday with Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY) addressing health care in one of a series of online health-care forums presented by the Kaiser Family Foundation’s Health Care 2008 Presidential Candidate Forums.

Three ways to get coverage of the event

  1. View the video
  2. Listen to the podcast
  3. Read the transcript (pdf)

What Clinton said

  • Every American is entitled to quality health care
  • Contrary to popular belief, Clinton will not require a single-payor program; if you like the private insurance you currently have, and the doctors you currently consult, you are free to continue your current health-care plan
  • If you don’t like your current health care, under Clinton’s plan, you will be able to choose from the same variety of plans as members of Congress and other federal employees
  • You will also have access to a public health-care plan, such as Medicare, that will provide stable, competitive alternative to private insurance

Guarantees under Clinton’s program

  1. You will never be denied coverage because of pre-existing conditions or risk factors
  2. Your coverage will be guaranteed
  3. Your health care will be affordable

Financing

One of the biggest criticisms of Democrats’ plans, like Clinton’s universal health-care proposal, is how it will be financed. The easiest answer is that most Democratic candidates are opposed to the war in Iraq, and most are opposed to the exorbitant expenditures required by the war. But Clinton mentioned other financing options during her hourlong speech at Thursday’s forum:

  • “Right now insurance companies spend $50 billion a year trying to figure out how not to cover people,” she said. “Well, I’m going to save them a fortune and a whole lot of time, because here’s the new policy: no more discrimination, period.”
  • The government will provide tax credits to individuals and families who do have insurance
  • Employers will have to take a part in providing health coverage to workers, but small businesses will not be required to provide health insurance (instead they will receive tax credits to ensure that they do so)
  • Clinton says the government will have to return to a balanced budget that will allow for a surplus of government funds to provide resources to tackle health care issues
  • The government will have to stop taking money from the Social Security trust fund to pay for the war in Iraq
  • Electronic medical records will help eliminate time wasted, and simplify accessing those records
  • We need to do a better job of chronic condition management

Next Up

On Thursday, Oct. 25, two more candidates will take the stage on the Kaiser Family Foundation’s health-care forum. They are:

The online audience

One of the great advantages of candidates participating in online forums is that more Americans are able to access the candidates’ plans. Think of it as the Web 2.0 version of presidential campaigns. Another advantage is that in addition to hearing answers to the questions asked by journalists, private citizens are able to pose questions to the candidates through the Web sites sponsoring the events. This means that candidates are, in effect, more able to connect with private individuals, and thus will be able to understand and cater to all Americans’ needs and wants – rather than simply whatever polls tell the candidates Americans want.

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