The presidential candidates on healthcare


John McCain
Opposes federally mandated universal coverage. Would increase awareness and promote the use of existing children's health insurance programs while expanding community health centers. Supports health care tax dividends for low-income Americans, medical malpractice reform, improving electronic record-keeping, expanding health savings accounts, and encouraging small businesses to band together to negotiate lower rates with health care providers.

Ron Paul
Supports market-based reforms encouraging greater private sector competition and personal choice.

OUT OF THE RACE: Sam Brownback | Jim Gilmore | Rudy Giuliani | Mike Huckabee | Duncan Hunter | Mitt Romney | Tom Tancredo | Fred Thompson | Tommy Thompson


Hillary Clinton
Mandates individual health insurance coverage for all Americans. Offers federal subsidies for those who cannot afford it. Allows individuals to choose from among several private plans also offered to members of Congress, as well as a new public insurance plan modeled after Medicare. Requires insurance companies to offer coverage to anyone who applies, and bars insurance companies from charging higher premiums to those with pre-existing conditions. Requires large businesses to provide or help pay for employee coverage. Expands Medicaid and federal children's health care programs. Offers tax credits to limit health care premiums to a certain percentage a family's income. Cost estimated at $110 billion annually, to be paid for by eliminating the Bush tax cuts for those earning over $250,000, as well as by reducing waste and inefficiencies in the current system. Also limits the amount employers can exclude from taxes for health care benefits for those making over $250,000.

Barack Obama

Would create a national health insurance program for individuals who do not have employer-provided health care and who do not qualify for other existing federal programs. Allows individuals to choose between the new public insurance program or from among private insurance plans that meet certain coverage standards. Requires employers who do not provide health coverage for employees to pay into the national health insurance program. Does not mandate individual coverage for all Americans, but requires coverage for all children. Allows individuals below age 25 to be covered through their parents' plans. Cost estimated between $50 billion and $65 billion, to be paid for by eliminating Bush tax cuts for those earning over $250,000.

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