Presidential candidates’ health plans

As a service to our readers, we’ve compiled all the presidential candidates’ health plans in one place for you to easily access. Soon, we’ll have a section of the TCHB devoted to the presidential race and health reform.

Click on the candidate to see his or her full plan for health reform.

Mccain ObamaHillary








As the race carries on, we’ll bring you updated analysis from the candidate’s health advisers, left – and right-leaning wonks and THCB contributors.

Also here is the Kaiser Network’s side-by-side comparison of the current candidates’ plans for quick reference.


Robert Laszewski’s nonpartisan analysis of each candidate’s plan previously posted on THCB are here:

If you’re interested in seeing health reform plans of the candidates who dropped out of the race, here’s the Kaiser Network’s side-by-side comparison.



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  1. by reading this about the social security issues, i feel that the government is expecting a lot more of us to work more and longer in order to have an “average person” to collect SS benefits and with this issue, its the 12 years longer to collect the benefits than the program would have them do. just like this quote says,
    -“That means that the “average person” now is expected to collect Social Security benefits for about 12 years, that is about 12 years longer than the average person was expected to collect benefits when the program was invented. Now 2 to 5 workers are paying into the system for every 1 person collecting benefits and the average person is collecting for 12 more years than the initial program expected.”- health care now is more of a bigger topic or issue for the government to deal with like Obama and McCain because of the age 65 and not only that but most people are getting into SS benefits, or just any health care benefits for their own many reasons like plastic surgery. i think its also a good thing for the change in our day but at the same time, its not because of the elderly. i enjoy reading this one about Social Security benefits. thank you!

  2. Democrats, Social Security and Our Health Care System.
    Democrats always point to Social Security as a great accomplishment, but it is always on the verge of total collapse. Every couple of years congress is forced to “fix it” by adding more tax money, decreasing benefits or raising the age of eligibility for benefits or some combination.
    The problem is, when the program was started the average lifespan of an American Citizen was around 65 years, and the age you needed to reach to collect Social Security was around 65 years. Meaning the “average person” would not live to collect Social Security, the average citizen was expected to work all his life pay into the system, then around the age of 65 they die. At the time Social Security was enacted there were around 20 to 25 people paying into the system for every 1 collecting benefits from it. Since the average lifespan was 65, even those who lived to collect Social Security would not be collecting it for long.
    Enter modern Health Care, the main reason for the average lifespan increasing from 65 sixty years ago to about 77 today, is the tremendous increase in our medical knowledge and technology. We can detect and cure things today that would have been a death sentence just twenty years ago.
    That means that the “average person” now is expected to collect Social Security benefits for about 12 years, that is about 12 years longer than the average person was expected to collect benefits when the program was invented. Now 2 to 5 workers are paying into the system for every 1 person collecting benefits and the average person is collecting for 12 more years than the initial program expected.
    As one of the major causes of increased lifespan democrats must look at our Health Care system as a direct threat to their great program of Social Security.
    Enter the “New” Democratic party, every single Democrat who ran for president this election cycle has run with a plan for government run “Universal” Health Care. Their plan must be to take over Health Care system and destroy it, in order to decrease the average lifespan and therefore make Social Security solvent again.
    The truth is every government that has Socialized Medicine does and must ration that medicine. In essence the government decides who gets the heart bypass procedure and who does no, who gets the new cancer drug and who does not. The way they do it is to put everyone on a waiting list for care and if the list is two years long and they happen to die before their number is called well that is just too bad.
    The reason Health Care is expensive is the same reason behind the price of everything, supply and demand. If there were more doctors it would be easier to get an appointment, more competition between the doctors for patients would lower prices. Look at the price of plastic surgery, more doctors going into that field over the last twenty years has lowered the cost. It takes a large commitment in both time and money to become a doctor.
    In addition to the years of education, it also takes a person who is very intelligent, with a specific aptitude, personality type and disposition, to become a doctor. Not everyone is cut out to be a doctor, therefore there is a limited amount people who can even become one, how many of them would choose that career path for a civil servants salary. It takes allot of hard work and sacrifice to become a doctor and part of the motivation to go threw all of that is the large amount of money a doctor can make and the lifestyle doctors can have. There will never be enough doctors to go around, limited supply and high demand increases the price.
    With socialized medicine the government makes the choice who gets it. Who will they chose to get the open slot for the expensive heart surgery, the forty year old worker with a minor heart defect who still has 15 years of work life left or the sixty five year old who is retired not paying taxes and plans to collect Social Security for the next 15 years.
    What if the the retired 65 year old guy has been a smoker with a poor diet, at one point will the government say he is to blame for his own health problems and deny him coverage. At one point does the government ban tobacco, alcohol, cheese burgers and fries, since they are paying the bills for the health effects. Don’t get me wrong I don’t smoke and I think its stupid to do so but that’s “freedom.” Freedom means being able to make bad choices as well as good ones.
    Back to Social Security, do I really think the Democrats want to take over the Health Care system to destroy it, so that people won’t live as long and therefore save Social Security, no of course not. They are not bad, evil people they are just misguided, they want to do good they want to help people but they won’t realize the unintended consequences of their action until its too late.
    The truth is most of the innovation in medical care over the last 100 years has come out of the U.S.A.. Lifespan will probably still increases under a “Universal” Health Care plan but that rate of increase will most likely be slowed because of it. An unintended consequence of their plan is that the innovation that our current system has produced for a hundred years will stagnate, as more people with the aptitude to become doctors and medical researchers decide to forgo the rigors of a medical education and choose a more lucrative return on their education investment. Since the Government will pay the bills they will decide what a doctor can make, and as the only major employer of doctors in the U.S. there will be limited or no competition, no reason to pay higher salary. In countries that now have Socialized medicine programs doctors don’t make much more than the average Civil Servant.
    The problem with these Socialized programs is once enacted they are almost impossible to get rid of. We are currently stuck with a budget where %65 of federal spending is locked up in entitlement programs, promises the government made but cannot keep without taking more and more from us the tax payers. If those who are collecting Social Security now had been allowed to invest their money in the stock market they would have had a much greater return on investment. According to the CATO Institute:
    “A person retiring at age 65 will only benefit more from Social Security relative to a private investment in the S&P 500 if he is a low earner and lives to be at least 96 years old. For those retiring at age 70, the only individuals that benefit more from Social Security are low earners who live to be at least 94 years old and average earners who live to be at least 108 years old.”
    The “average” income earner will have to live to 108!!!! to do better “investing” in Social Security over a private investment. With this level of efficiency do we really want government bureaucrats controlling our entire Health Care system.
    The additional intended consequence of the Social Security system for Democrats is in votes, every election cycle they claim that the other side will cut their benefits, this scares many seniors into voting for them. They vote out of fear, since Social Security is their sole source of income in many cases they become beholden to the government and that gives the government more control over their lives.

  3. Nice try jd but no cigar. Just go and read on my web site the 10-K filing by UnitedHealth Group. Hit the NCL tab (Non Contributing Layer)and you will clearly see where the problem is. And this is not even opinion but in their own words to the SEC. Here is the net result and the beginning from that tab on the site:
    ps: all three candidates don’t get it!!
    The scenario:
    You get into your car on the south side of Washington, DC, drive to the north side of Baltimore (or from Philadelphia to Atlantic City or from Sarasota to Tampa) for a total one way of 58 miles and this is what you will see:
    Next to the highway there is a 160 foot wide (football field width) office park the entire length with about 250,000 people working at useless functions processing health care insurance stuff. At almost every tenth of a mile there stands a Member of Congress facing the highway holding a placard that says “behind me is the best healthcare system in the world” but on the other side of the placard not visible to you the traveler is the inscription “these suckers are paying me for non-needed work”.
    That’s the magnitude of the healthcare insurance business which does not even account for the staff and expense the healthcare providers need to endure. You can see that on your return trip except that office space is 3 times the width that you saw on your first trip.
    Let’s examine the magnitude and the effects of the Non-Contributing Layer (NCL).
    Let’s use UnitedHealth Group as a typical model and from that we will factor for the entire nation. The real picture will be quite a bit more dismal but at least this will present the bare minimum.
    The information and data that UnitedHealth Group presented in their 2007 Form 10-K filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) shall be used as a basis for this analysis. Please open the link, read and study the details to get a thorough picture of the situation. It is all public knowledge. The link to that document is here:

  4. Ron,
    You talk about insatiable greed of the insurance industry as a primary cause of our health care costs. Presumably, you mean that the profits of this industry and salaries of executives are a major contributor to high costs. If you look at the numbers you will know that the evidence is strongly against you. Health insurance profit margins have always been on average below 5%, which makes it a low margin industry. Compare health insurance to other forms of insurance. Given that private insurance is somewhere around 35-40% of total expenditures on health care (the rest is Medicare, Medicaid, out-of-pocket expenditures, etc.), health insurance profits are around 1-2% of total health care costs. They are not what is driving costs up. CEO and executive pay is an even smaller factor, a fraction of a percent.
    Massachusetts is a particularly stark case. Blue Cross, Harvard Pilgrim and Tufts all have very low profit margins. We’re talking 1% margins, or not much higher. Executive salaries are also well under 1% of premiums. People who know health care in MA know that high costs there are being driven by a number of factors, almost all of them on the supply side. There are over 60% more physicians per capita in MA than in the nation as a whole, with a higher number of teaching hospitals and dominant hospital systems, particularly Partners. This is not a liberal or conservative view, it is simply an informed view. But don’t take my word for it, look at this brief by The Center for Studying Health System Change or do some Googling on the topic.
    Health plans do play a role in exacerbating the problem of high costs, but the main role is one of impotence. Health plans by and large have been unable to contain costs or manage care very effectively. They haven’t really made a dent in the medically unwarranted care that Wennberg has been documenting for decades and they haven’t been able to keep prices in line with general inflation. There are exceptions: managed care did actually make a difference in the mid 90s and kept costs lower than inflation and GDP growth, and managed care has kept physician incomes for primary care physicians at about the rate of inflation. But that’s another story. My point is that the greed of insurers, particularly in MA, is an absurd reason to give for any problems that MA’s universal health care system faces.

  5. I believe that Senator Clinton’s plan is one of the reasons that she has lost the nomination. Those of us living in Massachusetts have seen what a fiasco mandated health insurance truly is and that access to low quality insurance products is hardly analogous to healthcare access. Does she truly believe that garnishing wages to feed the insatiable greed of the insurance industry was going to play well with the middle class?

  6. Grand statements but no real numbers yet from Obama or Clinton. Tell me my premium/co-pays/deductibles first then I’ll see if it’s worth signing on to. At least Obama won’t mandate us into an expensive system first then worry about reducing costs later, as in Hillary’s plan. Looks like it will be the Obama “plan” anyway since Hillary is running out of time. Unless white voters can get over not voting for a black president (especially in the south)it will be the McCain non-plan. But it looks like corporate America has the fix in against Obama anyway. How come we don’t get the same 24/7 coverage of McCain’s preacher and his statements? http://www.alternet.org/election08/84386/

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