Healthcare flare-up on campaign trail

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Things are heating up on the campaign trail, and I guess we can be grateful that healthcare is emerging as a new source of political offensives.

On Saturday, Democratic candidate Sen. Barack Obama (IL) criticized the healthcare proposal of presumptive Republican nominee Sen. John McCain (AZ). He connected McCain's with failed Bush administration policies and said McCain’s proposal leaves U.S. residents to struggle on their own in the free market.

Meanwhile, McCain responded that Obama and Democratic candidate Sen. Hillary Clinton (NY) would add government bureaucracy to the healthcare system.

To briefly recap their healthcare plans, McCain is calling for a more market-oriented healthcare system, shifting the emphasis from insurance provided by employers to insurance bought by individuals. Obama and Clinton are calling for a more universal healthcare system. Obama wants to make private and public health insurance more readily available. One difference between their plans is Clinton wants to include an individual mandate requiring all Americans to buy health insurance, while Obama wants to create one only for children.

While other political motives likely are in play, it is a good sign that the candidates are beginning to argue about healthcare – a major topic of concern for Americans.

Unfortunately, they are still leaving long-term care out of the discussion. If the candidates are serious about system reform, they should examine what their opponents are proposing about long-term care coverage and payments.

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Daily Editors' Notes

McKnight's Daily Editors' Notes features commentary on the latest in long-term care news and issues. Entries are written by Editorial Director John O'Connor, Editor James M. Berklan, Senior Editor Elizabeth Newman and Staff Writer Marty Stempniak.