Political leaders offer various healthcare reform solutions

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Over the weekend, five of the nation's leading voices on healthcare reform submitted essays to politico.com expressing their own opinions on the ongoing debate. And while their individual ideas may differ, they all agree the time is ripe for healthcare reform.

Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-MA), who is perhaps the most outspoken of the five on matters of healthcare reform, espouses his five-point plan that emphasizes delivery reform, preventive healthcare and long-term supports and services for the disabled. In his essay, Sen. Max Baucus (D-MT) shares Kennedy's sentiments in his article outlining the various ways in which the current state of healthcare in America constitutes a crisis.

"The cost of covering people insured by Medicare and Medicaid is projected to increase by 114 percent in 10 years, while our economy will grow only 64 percent," Baucus points out. "That's a crisis."

Meanwhile, former Vermont Governor Howard Dean (D) thinks that serious investment in healthcare technology is the best path toward healthcare delivery changes and cost savings. Two Republicans writing essays highlight different aspects of the Republican approach. "[H]ealth reform should be developed through a bipartisan process that leads to a bill with broad support," says Senator Charles Grassley (R-IA), touting his recent joint efforts with Baucus.

Rep. Tom Price (R-GA) agrees that the goal of healthcare reform "must be to create a system that is accessible, affordable, innovative, responsive and of the highest quality," but suggests that "none of these adjectives describe routine services from the federal government." Price presents some more traditionally Republican moves toward market-based reform in his essay: tax credits and deductions, and more patient-oriented insurance policies, with less involvement from the government.

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