Muddled arguments about health care have, for better or worse, so far dominated the Democratic primary debates. Every once in a while Cory Booker steps up to explain to the television audience – and perhaps the candidates themselves – that the disagreements aren’t as cosmic as they seem.
Every Democrat on stage wants to expand coverage and to use government programs to achieve that while the Republicans are still talking about repealing the ACA or killing it through the courts. Continue reading
President Trump is the record holder for becoming the oldest president at age 70.
If you’ve been watching the Democratic debates (and even if you haven’t), you know several candidates running for president in 2020 are 70 or older.
While there is a minimum age requirement to hold office, there is no upper limit. Should there be, given how physically and mentally grueling the job of president is? (Just look at before and after photos.) Is 75, or 80, or 85 too old to be president?
Ted Cruz, as you may have heard, said on the campaign trail in late January that he didn’t have health insurance. And that his wife was pretty ticked off about it.
A few days later, his office said he and his family were, in fact, insured. As fellow Texan president hopeful Rick Perry once said – OOPS.
But it’s not really funny. Continue reading
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).
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
President Barack Obama and presidential candidate Mitt Romney will answer a series of questions about science and related policy. The questions, developed by ScienceDebate.org with the help of a group of science and engineering organizations.
While all of the questions – and their answers – will be of interest to health journalists, here are five that are directly related to health:
Pandemics and Biosecurity. Recent experiments show how Avian flu may become transmissible among mammals. In an era of constant and rapid international travel, what steps should the United States take to protect our population from emerging diseases, global pandemics and/or deliberate biological attacks?
Food. Thanks to science and technology, the United States has the world’s most productive and diverse agricultural sector, yet many Americans are increasingly concerned about the health and safety of our food. The use of hormones, antibiotics and pesticides, as well as animal diseases and even terrorism pose risks. What steps would you take to ensure the health, safety and productivity of America’s food supply?
Fresh Water. Less than one percent of the world’s water is liquid fresh water, and scientific studies suggest that a majority of U.S. and global fresh water is now at risk because of increasing consumption, evaporation and pollution. What steps, if any, should the federal government take to secure clean, abundant fresh water for all Americans?
Science in Public Policy. We live in an era when science and technology affect every aspect of life and society, and so must be included in well-informed public policy decisions. How will you ensure that policy and regulatory decisions are fully informed by the best available scientific and technical information, and that the public is able to evaluate the basis of these policy decisions?
Vaccination and public health. Vaccination campaigns against preventable diseases such as measles, polio and whooping cough depend on widespread participation to be effective, but in some communities vaccination rates have fallen off sharply. What actions would you support to enforce vaccinations in the interest of public health, and in what circumstances should exemptions be allowed?
See the full list of questions on the ScienceDebate.org website. The group expects to have the candidates’ answers within a week. Follow @shawnotto, co-founder of ScienceDebate.org, on Twitter or join their Facebook group to find out the answers. An email from the organization also advised signing up on the website for early notification, but that web page doesn’t say anything about notification; it does require your name and mailing address and has a box that you must uncheck if you don’t want to be listed on the site as a supporter.