POLITICS: More on the Presidential plan comparison

Long time THCB friend Steve Beller tells me this:

We’ve created a Comparative Analysis of Presidential Health Care Plans, which analyzes much of the details of Susan Blumenthal’s and Kaisers’ work in order to identify top candidates based on voters’ wants and needs. We’ve taken a unique approach in which the complex details are distilled into categories of strategies that simplify comparisons between the candidates, and we’ve included comments on the key factors (with several quotes from Maggie Mahar’s blog and input from Barry Carol). It then groups the candidates on whether they propose universal healthcare, and it  ranks them by the amount of attention they give to quality improvement and cost control. Then it matches the candidates to 18 types of consumers, which take into account their current insurance and health situation, their income level, and their support of good care for all.

Here’s the link.

Take a look and feel free of course to give your comments to Steve over on his blog or here.

Meanwhile as major bloggers are dropping like flies from the stress, (get soon well Om!), I feel good about the fact that I took the weekend off to go snow-boarding in some of the best powder the Sierras has seen in a while. And that’ll be all from me today!

3 replies »

  1. I agree with Peter’s assessment … sadly. The Republican proposals seem more focused on minimizing taxes than assuring everyone is covered. Nor are they very commited to improving the quality of care. Instead of supporting universal care, they focus on HSAs, tax credits for individuals, giving states more flexibility, avoiding mandates, and on using market forces (e.g., increased competition) to control costs. In essence, they don’t seem to want significant change. The Democrats are mostly in the opposite direction.
    In trying to figure out why this might be, I realized that one’s income could be factor. Those with higher incomes would likely be hit with tax increases needed to support the Democrats’ universal healthcare (and quality improvement) plans. Furthermore, they likely have good insurance coverage already and would not, therefore, perceive a universal plan as being advantageous to them personally. These factors appear to me to be a primary reason why the Republican candidates are opposed to universal healthcare plans (especially non-single-payer universal healthcare proposals since they all include the option for private insurance).
    Nevertheless, I’d bet there are people in the upper income brackets who, even though they have good insurance and face increased taxes, would support universal healthcare (as well as being willing to support quality improvement strategies). But, based on my understanding of the psychology of American capitalism, I cannot say with confidence that the majority of high-income folks share the sentiment of “we as a society,” although I hope things will become more like Maggie envisions.

  2. My review of the charts shows that Repuglicans won’t do much about healthcare – except maybe to keep ingratiating their wealthy supporters. But will Deomocrats do more than just talk if they get the Whitehouse and Senate in 09. Unless there is a monumental shift in campaign finance reform and lobbying don’t count on much from either party. Hillary’s not taking those healthcare industry contributions for nothing.
    “It’s a matter of thinking about the nation collectively rather than individually.”
    Maggie, I’ve yet to find this attribute in most Americans, at least those that vote. If it’s not in our political “leaders” why would citizens feel they need to be any different. My involvement in local government issues shows the “ME” attitude is strong and alive. With the economy on a “correction” course Repuglicans will play the tax card for all its worth and any chance of health reform will be put aside as no one will want to tinker with a complicated unknown at a time when consumers are just hanging on.

  3. The charts are very interesting–if a little complicated. And thank you for linking to some of my posts.
    But I’m little concerned about how they your charts seem to break U.S. Society down into classes, assuming that each class thinks only in terms of what it needs. For example, unless I’m missing something, you seem to be assuming that if I’m very wealthly, I’m less likely to be concerned about cost control, more concerned about tax breaks and may or may not be concerned about whether everyone receives good care.
    But in fact, we don’t just live in an economy; we live in a society. And a wealthy person who realizes this may be even more concerned about cost-containment and everyone getting good health care while being relatively unconcerned about whether the candidates health care plan gives him or her a tax loophole. (That’s not the point of health care reform–my tax break does nothing to advance the nation’s health.)
    It’s a matter of thinking about the nation collectively rather than individually.
    Just as I don’t want to live in a society where some people are homeless, I don’t want to live in a society where many people don’t get care that is as good as the care that I want for myself and my family.
    That means that the standard for basic care must be pretty high. And to achieve that goal–for everyone–cost containment is paramount.
    It’s worth noting that in Germany, people who earn what we would consider an upper-middle class income have the option of buying public insurance rather than private insurance. Private insurance will cover things like a private room in a hospital.
    But half of those wealthier Germans who are eligible for private insurance (with its extra amenities) don’t buy it because the public insurance is very good.
    That’s the type of national health insurance I’d like to see here. And this has nothing to do with whether or not I now have insurance, how much I earn, whether I expect to have insurance next year, my tax bracket, etc.
    Nor is this all about altrusism. It’s just that if you realize that we live in a society, not just an economy, you realize that inequality weakens that society. The gaps between classes in this country are widening, and ultimately this will catch up with all of us.