The Bush Plan
For many young voters, only months separate them from independence, which means making dreaded health insurance payments from their own checkbooks; however, many are still unaware of where the candidates stand on health care issues.
“As young people start to take a role in society, they recognize the importance of a strong health care system,” said Chris Paolino, communication director for the Michigan Republican Party. “One that provides services at a high level, at a rate of speed that allows for the proper treatment of illnesses, and that’s what President Bush’s plan does.”
The two candidates have very different health care plans, Paolino said.
“In distinction between the two plans, the President’s plan is committed to allowing choice for the patients and the doctors,” Paolino said. “And the Kerry plan is basically socialized, government-run health care. It’s a difference almost between Capitalism and Communism.”
[health] This may be an exaggeration, however, given that Kerry has rejected the implication that his plan puts medical decisions in the hands of the government.
Paolino said that although Kerry’s plan makes socialized medicine seem like a good idea, it would put the United States more in-line with Canadian health care plans.
“Just last month we saw President Clinton go in for a bypass. It took him three days between diagnosis to the end of the procedure,” Paolino said. “In Canada he would have to wait over six months for the same procedure. That’s an important distinction.”
He failed to mention how that same procedure may have differed for lower-income, lesser-known individuals, rather than a former president, but a primary objective outlined in Bush’s plan is to promote health care that’s affordable to every American. Bush said he wants to propose tax credits to low-income individuals and families so they can purchase health insurance. Currently, a person can only purchase health insurance in the state in which they live, but Bush’s proposal allows citizens to shop in different states for the best rates.
But, there are also changes to be made to Bush’s current plan.
“We do have the best health care system in the world, and we do have access to health care,” Paolino said. “I can walk into any emergency room, any treatment facility right now and get treated for any problem that I have; even down to the common cold. The problem is it that puts an excessive cost on our health care system.”
Paolino also said that the president wants to increase preventative care so that people can be treated earlier for their ailments, as opposed to waiting until an emergency-room visit is required.
“Furthermore, by increasing preventative care for seniors, shifting Medicare over to a more preventative care and allowing seniors better access to drugs…So, we’re cutting down on the sicknesses, which cuts down on cost, which again is passed back to the consumers,” he said.
Another way to lower health care costs, he said, is by lowering the fines doctors pay in malpractice suits. Paolino said that doctors, especially gynecologists, are paying up to $500,000 a year on malpractice insurance. Those are costs that the doctors have to pass on to patients, which then patients have to cover or pass on to insurance companies.
[health2] “By reducing the punitive damages of malpractice suits, the excessive multi-hundred million dollar jury awards that are handed out, we can give between $60 and $100 billion back to the patients annually,” Paolino said. “Insurance companies can reduce rates, doctors can reduce the costs of their services, and that can be passed back to the consumers. That’s an amazing way right off the bat to reduce health care costs.”
In addition to reducing costs, Bush said he wants to help parents keep their children safe by promoting abstinence and increasing funds for drug testing. Other proposals in the plan include expanding community health centers and controlling rising health care costs. Bush also wants to maintain benefits to veterans and military families.
Between the two plans, Paolino said, obviously, that Bush’s health care plan is stronger, although the president doesn’t promise that it’s perfect.
“The President has said numerous times that we’re never going to be at a state where we should be content with what we have. We should always be looking to improve the system and make it better for all Americans.”
Kim Shaffer, an interior design senior, said she thinks Bush’s plan is well thought-out and helpful for the younger crowd just getting out of college. “The president’s views on healthcare, which he’s looking to bring costs down on, is really nice considering I’ll be paying for all the healthcare on my own in a year’s time,” she said.
Kelly DiCicco, an advertising senior at MSU, said she thinks more college students just getting out of school need to pay more attention to such issues. “A lot of students overlook the healthcare issues because they are uninformed,” DeCicco said. “President Bush has a lot of good proposals on lowering healthcare costs, which someone my age can appreciate.”
For more information on Bush’s health care plan and other issues, go to www.georgewbush.com
The Kerry Plan
At the end of this fall semester or in May 2005, thousands of MSU students will cross a stage in the Breslin Center and graduate, walking out into the real world hopefully with real world jobs. Little do many students know, that once they’ve entered the real world, they are stripped of many benefits that were provided for them while dependent on their parents. One of the main issues being health care.
[health3] America’s health care system is one of the major issues in this year’s election and after the presidential election November 2, depending on who is elected could determine whether or not certain people will have better access to better healthcare plans.
John Kerry has big plans for revamping the health care system in the nation, and wants to provide all Americans with access to the same coverage that members of Congress have and to make affordable health care a right “not a privilege,” Kerry says.
To aid students in choosing a candidate whose health care plan fits them best, here are the main points of Kerry’s plan. Kerry wants to provide all Americans with access to the same health care coverage members of Congress receive. Kerry also plans on making the Federal Employee Health Care Benefits Program (FEHCP) available to everyone.
Through tax credits for individuals and the self-employed, everyone will be able to afford being covered by this program. Automatic coverage will be given to the unemployed and retirees under 65 years of age.
Randy Neice, president of the MSU Student Democrats, said that Kerry’s health plan is to create a catastrophic insurance plan which will protect middle-class families, and that Kerry believes a family should not have to choose between death of a loved one or catastrophic debt.
Under Kerry’s program, every child will have health care coverage by extending Medicaid programs already in place.
“We take over Medicaid children from the states so that every child in America is covered,” Kerry said. “And in exchange, if the states want to, although they are not forced to, they can cover individuals up to 300 percent of poverty.”
Kerry also plans to cut prescription drug costs by allowing discounted prescription drugs from Canada to be imported, making generic drugs more available on the market, and requiring the Secretary of Health and Human Services to negotiate with drug companies for better prescription drug prices.
“Kerry wants to make prescription drugs affordable again by investing research and development into pharmaceutical development so that companies do have to pay for all the investment and can therefore provide medicine for less money,” Neice said. “Furthermore, he wants to expedite the licensing to allow generics to come out more quickly than they currently can under copyright laws, which will allow easier access to medicine when people need it most.”
By 2008, Kerry wants to have secure, private medical records on universal electronic files for every American and this will reduce medical errors by eliminating needless retesting due to lost or wrong paperwork. On his Web site, Kerry estimates that about 25 percent of the annual cost of health care goes towards unnecessary insurance paperwork.
Also, he supports passing a Patient’s Bill of Rights that will include the right to see the specialists they need, to emergency procedures, to external appeals process that allow patients to appeal an HMO decision, to hold health plans accountable and “whistleblower” protections for health care workers who report problems.
Should he become president, Kerry plans to help in combating the AIDS epidemic on a global scale by contributing to The Global Fund, increase resources for nations where the HIV/AIDS epidemic is catastrophic, eliminate restrictions on research and education of HIV/AIDS, and increase funding for programs in our nation that assist people living with these diseases.
Next, he also supports stem cell research to find cures for diseases. He plans to overturn the ban on federal funding of stem cell research and allow researchers to work under supervision.
Senior advertising major, Joe Merriman agrees with Kerry’s plans to help America with the issues of healthcare.
“I’m going to officially graduate at the end of this semester, so I won’t be on my parent’s insurance anymore,” Merriman said. “Even if I don’t have a job that offers health insurance, I think if John Kerry is elected president, I have more options since his goal is to make it cheaper and make certain types of medicine more accessible to the public.”
The Bush Plan