As we come down to the wire in this election, here’s a short review in three major races regarding the health care issue. We’ve done extensive analysis here at the NC Health Access Coalition and I link to that below. In summary though, the basic philosophical difference in each of these races – whether it’s for President, US Senator, or NC Governor – is twofold.
First, there is detail. Both Elizabeth Dole and Pat McCrory (he’s the R running for NC Governor) distinguish themselves by releasing what is really just a set of short talking points on health care rather than an actual plan for change. McCain goes a little farther, but his proposal is still much less detailed than Obama’s. Dole is probably the worst offender here. Her plan consists of little more than a couple paragraphs on her website while opponent State Senator Kay Hagan’s ideas consume several pages of detailed proposals complete with ideas on how to save money and pay for coverage expansions. Interestingly, the difference in detail is a fact rarely mentioned in news reports that compare health plans of the candidates.
Second, Hagan, along with both Lieutenant Governor Beverly Perdue and Senator Obama, present plans that involve a larger watchdog role for government over insurance companies and/or an expanded role for public programs targeted at children, parents, and older adults. In contrast, McCrory, Dole and McCain all like to talk generally about a much smaller role for government. They’d like to get rid of insurance “mandates” and end costly regulation – however, none are willing to specify just which of those mandates they’d like to eliminate. I guess talking about ending requirements for cancer screening or an independent review of health plan decisions just wouldn’t sound as good.
Think about the above like a house purchase. One realtor says he’s got just the place – in a great neighborhood, close to great schools, just a “short walk” from all sorts of stores and entertainment, and it has “a designer kitchen and baths”. One catch – he can’t tell you exactly where the house is, how many rooms it has, etc. The other realtor has a much more detailed description of a competing property, including an exact location, condition, and description. A gambler might buy the first house sight unseen, but most people aren’t that cavalier with such an important decision. There’s little reason health care should be any different.
For more detail see HAC’s analysis:
Hagan v. Dole 
Obama v. McCain