POLICY/POLITICS: Susan Blumenthal review of the Presidential Candidates’ health care policy

Susan Blumenthal, M.D. has created a side-By-side Comparison of all the Presidential candidates’ health care proposals. What does it tell you? None of the Republicans have a real proposal–Rudy Guliani has made some big statements about turning the system over to consumers but no one else — including Romney — has dared say much. While Edwards has a convoluted plan (courtesy of Jonathan Gruber) and Obama has been standing far too close to David Cutler, Hillary Clinton has only announced half of hers.

Of course none of it matters too much. The journey between here and real health care reform is a long, long one. But good job by Susan and her team to put it all together.

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  1. Need for Politicians to recognize diabetes health crisis in minority communities
    Efforts to address growing diabetes concerns among African-Americans, Latinos, and Native Americans suffered a major setback most recently in California when Assemblymember and Appropriations Committee Chair Mark Leno killed a diabetes bill that hoped to help alleviate this growing public health crisis. The bill was an expressed priority of the California Democrat Legislative Black Caucus. After listening to extensive information on the increasing diabetes epidemic and the disproportionate suffering from diabetes it in minority communities Leno, with the authority as Chair of the Appropriations Committee, still moved to kill the bill by placing the bill in suspense file.
    In the late 1990s California experienced a 60% increase in diabetes among the adult population. In tandem with national trends, it is California’s minority populations who suffer in the highest numbers from this diabetes epidemic and obesity. The bill, which was brought forth by Mervyn M Dymally Legislative Black Caucus Chair and Assemblymember from Compton, presented to Leno and the committee the disproportionate statistics and immediate health concerns of diabetes effecting minority communities. Dymally explained that 10.3% of African American, 9.3% of Native Americans, and 6.0% of Latinos suffer from diabetes and obesity compared with 5.6% of whites and 4.7% of Asian Pacific Islander communities. For those diagnosed with diabetes health related problems can be very serious including high blood pressure, blindness, heart disease, and even fatalities. Moreover, minority communities suffer the highest number of diabetes related deaths compared with the general population of those diagnosed with diabetes.
    The bill, that Leno effectively made sure would never be enacted, proposed to study the factors and causes contributing to high rates of diabetes and obesity in Latinos, African-Americans, and Native Americans in this country, starting with California. The bill would further have called for a task force to prepare a report containing recommendations on how to reduce instances of diabetes and such debilitating conditions among these ethnic groups. Dymally as Chair of the Legislative Black Caucus expressed his deep concern and dismay over Leno’s actions in the Appropriations Committee in killing the bill.

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