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Mind the Gap in the GOP Candidates' Health Care Plans

Steve Benen explains with reference to the health issues of some of their major candidates, the inadequacy of the Republican healthcare plans to cover those middle class Americans who don't have the advantage of a good government or private sector job.

Rudy Giuliani was treated for prostate cancer. John McCain has been treated for melanoma, the most serious type of skin malignancy. Fred Thompson was diagnosed with lymphoma, a cancer of the immune system.

And as the LA Times' Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar explained in a good piece today, all three could be denied healthcare insurance under their own healthcare plans.

All three have offered proposals with the stated aim of helping the 47 million people in the U.S. who have no health insurance, including those with preexisting medical conditions. But under the plans all three have put forward, cancer survivors such as themselves could not be sure of getting coverage -- especially if they were not already covered by a government or job-related plan and had to seek insurance as individuals.

"Unless it's in a state that has very strong consumer protections, they would likely be denied coverage," said economist Paul Fronstin of the Employee Benefit Research Institute, who has reviewed the candidates' proposals. "People with preexisting conditions would not be able to get coverage or would not be able to afford it."

And what do Americans in general, think about their health care? "Nine out of ten say the system needs at least fundamental changes, including 36 percent who favor a complete overhaul". Further in a recent poll.

By a 57-38 percent margin, American voters feel it is the government's responsibility to make sure everyone in the U.S. has adequate health care, according to a Quinnipiac University national poll released today (November 1, 2007). Voters also feel 60-33 percent that the government should provide health insurance for those who can't afford it.

Catastrophic-care insurance? That might be a starting point for consensus. Democrats favor it, of course, but most Republicans do, too." The greatest support, 70-23 percent, is for the federal government to do more to help pay for catastrophic health care costs. Even Republicans support this idea 56-37 percent.

Tell this to leading GOP standard bearer Giuliani.

Now, many Republicans who feel obliged to have some kind of health care "plan" endorse the health care tax deduction. Most just don't care very much about the uninsured. Giuliani, by contrast, is not indifferent to the plight of the uninsured. He actually seems to revel in it:

I don't like mandating health care. I don't like it because it erodes what makes health care work in this country--the free market, the profit motive. A mandate takes choice away from people. We've got to let people make choices. We've got to let them take the risk--do they want to be covered? Do they want health insurance? Because, ultimately, if they don't, well, then, they may not be taken care of...

Where does this bizarrely punitive view of the health care system come from?

Note: Wizbang Blue is now closed and our authors have moved on. Paul Hooson can now be found at Wizbang Pop!. Please come see him there!

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Publisher: Kevin Aylward

Editors: Lee Ward, Larkin, Paul S Hooson, and Steve Crickmore

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