OBAMA ON HEALTH CARE
September 11, 2008
How do Sens. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Barack Obama (D-Ill.) differ on health care? The National Journal compared and contrasted the two presidential candidates. Below is a summary of Obama's positions on health care.
- Obama would require parents to insure their children and would allow children up to age 25 to stay on their parents' plans.
- He is considering mandating that all the uninsured buy coverage and expanding eligibility for Medicaid and SCHIP; the goal is to reach universal coverage by 2012.
- Individuals and businesses could purchase public or private health coverage through a national health insurance exchange, and insurers could not reject applicants because of illness or pre-existing conditions.
- Benefits would be similar to those for federal employees.
- Obama would allow some drug imports; he estimates that the plan would lower premiums an average of $2,500 per family.
- He would pay for his plan (estimated at $50 billion to $60 billion a year) by allowing Bush's tax breaks to expire for people with annual incomes about $250,000.
- Obama would toughen antitrust laws to keep insurers from "overcharging" for malpractice insurance.
- He would promote the use of generic drugs, create an approval pathway for generic biologic drugs and allow Medicare to negotiate directly with drug companies.
Employer-provided health insurance:
- Most employers would have to cover workers, make a "meaningful" contribution to coverage or contribute to a public health plan.
- Obama would exempt small businesses and give them a tax credit to help reduce their health care costs.
- He would reimburse employers for some catastrophic costs, but employers would have to use the money to reduce workers' premiums.
Source: "Obama on Health Care," in "Where They Stand," National Journal, August 30, 2008.
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