Resources break down candidates’ views on health care, what matters to voters

Joanne Kenen

About Joanne Kenen

Joanne Kenen, (@JoanneKenen) the health editor at Politico, is AHCJ’s topic leader on health reform and curates related material at She welcomes questions and suggestions on health reform resources and tip sheets at Follow her on Facebook.

Here are two more resources before the presidential debate and the final weeks of trying to untangle the health policy claims in the campaign. Both come from the Journal of the American Medical Association (and neither require a password).

Core Topics
Health Reform
Oral Health
Other Topics

The first is a straightforward two-page essay summing up Obama vs. Romney on the health law/private insurance, Medicaid and Medicare. It’s by Aaron E. Carroll, who is a physician and policy expert, and   Austin B. Frakt, a health care economist. (Both are part of The Incidental Economist blog, which I like a lot – and it’s searchable!)

“Fundamentally,” they write, “the candidates disagree on the role of government as the guarantor of affordable access to health insurance, as evidenced by their plans for private insurance markets, Medicare, and Medicaid.”  They also note the two candidates have different starting points for policy – Obama prioritized covering more people, and Romney stresses cutting federal spending on health.

The second is an infographic from the Kaiser Family Foundation, part of its Visualizing Health Policy collaboration with the journal.  It shows how voters rank health care as a campaign issue this year, which health issues are most salient and how Americans perceive Obama and Romney on these issues. It includes historical contact for the past five elections (back to Bill Clinton in 1992). Cost, as you may guess, is key. I particularly liked this chart, which showed how issues rose and fell with voters every four years. (Moral values beat out economy/jobs for the top spot in 2004. Health care placed 5th and last that year – after terrorism and Iraq.)

Joanne Kenen (@JoanneKenen) is AHCJ’s health reform topic leader. If you have questions or suggestions for future resources, please send them to

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