Summaries of several recent editorials and opinion pieces that discuss the health care proposal of presidential candidate Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.), as well as the plans of other candidates, appear below.
<LI class=AdvisoryBullet>Detroit Free Press: The debate over health care among presidential candidates "should be about how to guarantee access either at the national level or through a federal go-ahead for states ... that have plans ready to implement and whether to penalize those who do not avail themselves of coverage," a Free Press editorial states. The issue "has been stalled for too long by all those with a vested interest in keeping the system as is," the editorial states, adding, "The next president should serve notice that such a position is no longer acceptable" (Detroit Free Press, 9/24).
<LI class=AdvisoryBullet>Fargo Forum: "Clinton's new initiative seems to be a tad more than a modest permutation of her first effort" and includes the same "failure to address the core problem with U.S. health care: rapidly rising costs," a Forum editorial states. The requirements in the proposal "suggest a government enforcement bureaucracy of enormous power and proportion," the editorial states, adding, "How that translates into affordable health care coverage for all thus far has not been revealed." The editorial concludes, "Clinton wins applause for shining the spotlight on the health care knot, but from what we know so far, HillaryCare II can't begin to untie it" (Fargo Forum, 9/21).
<LI class=AdvisoryBullet>Long Island Newsday: "None of the plans proposed so far by leading presidential candidates are persuasive," according to a Newsday editorial. "At best, they lay out sensible avenues toward the reform of the worst parts of the system but leave out critical details on financing and implementation," the editorial states, adding, "At worst, they are empty statements of good intentions or outright ideological rants" (Long Island Newsday, 9/23).
Winston-Salem Journal: "Most of the rest of the world" has "figured out how to deliver good, affordable health care to their citizens without breaking the backs of taxpayers and putting their industry at a disadvantage," and the U.S. "can do this, too," according to a Journal editorial. With Clinton "now officially calling for mandatory coverage for all Americans, the health care debate should get the attention it deserves in the coming campaign," the editorial states, concluding, "But it will take a commitment on the part of the American voter to demand health care reform, and there is no better time to do that than right now, as the debate on the issue begins to go full blast" (Winston-Salem Journal, 9/24).
<LI class=AdvisoryBullet>Jim Jaffe, Baltimore Sun: A number of presidential candidates have announced proposals that require residents to obtain health insurance, but such a mandate is a "superficially attractive idea" that does not address the issue of penalties for "those who fail to buy the required insurance," Jaffe, vice president of public affairs for the Center for the Advancement of Health, writes in a Sun opinion piece. "It is painful to imagine that efforts to provide better health care could somehow result in government agents' rounding up and prosecuting those who didn't buy insurance," but "any such universal system will inevitably require such an enforcement effort," he writes, adding that "experience with our tax system suggests that requiring universal coverage won't come quickly or painlessly" (Jaffe, Baltimore Sun, 9/25).
<LI class=AdvisoryBullet>Jennifer Hunter, Chicago Sun-Times: "It has clearly ticked off the other Democratic candidates that Hillary Clinton has been receiving so much positive press for her newly unveiled health care plan," although the "attention is not because Clinton's health care plan is more brilliant than the other candidates' proposals; it comes from Clinton's spectacular failure as first lady to shepherd through a complicated and expensive health care plan during her husband's first term in office," Sun-Times columnist Hunter writes in an opinion piece. She writes that, "if things continue as they have for the last six months, it looks as if Clinton may very well be the Democrat who carries the banner for universal health insurance." She adds, "You can hear the Republicans sharpening their knives already" (Hunter, Chicago Sun-Times, 9/25).
<LI class=AdvisoryBullet>John Torinus, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: The Clinton proposal "deals with only one side of the health care equation" and fails to address the "critical issue of costs," columnist Torinus writes in a Journal Sentinel opinion piece. Torinus adds, "Democrats have to deal more squarely with the cost dimension" and find "organizing concepts that make the economics work" because private-sector payers have "learned that engaging individuals in their health and health costs works." He concludes, "Clinton and her fellow Democrats ... need to stop talking to wonks inside their respective beltways and talk instead to real managers in the private sector -- the people who know how to deliver value at a reasonable price" (Torinus, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 9/22).
<LI class=AdvisoryBullet>Steve Jacob, Sacramento Bee: Clinton would cover the cost of her proposal with "savings resulting from disease prevention and 'wellness,'" but the plan included "few details on this, such as how prevention is being defined and how much savings would result," columnist Jacob writes in a Bee opinion piece. He adds, "Universal prevention practices will make us healthier, but they are unlikely to save money" (Jacob, Sacramento Bee, 9/25).
Linda Chavez, Washington Times: Clinton's proposal, which is "short on choice but full of government mandates" makes "it sound as if we are facing a health care crisis," syndicated columnist Chavez writes in a Times opinion piece. She writes, "We do need a new system -- one that rewards individual efforts to stay healthy and provides incentives to get regular, prophylactic care" -- but "Hillary's plan doesn't come close to doing so and will only result in higher taxes and rationed health care" (Chavez, Washington Times, 9/25).