Presidential Politics and Health Care Policy

In my last posting I delved briefly into the politics (nonpartisan, of course) of health care issues in the upcoming presidential election. In that posting (10/10/08) I should have provided some information about the health care proposals put forth by the 2 major candidates, but I wasn’t sure how to do it.

Now I know. To my surprise (and pleasure), the current issue of the New England Journal of Medicine (October 9, 2008) has reasonably detailed statements by Senators Barack Obama and John McCain describing their health care proposals; the editors of the journal had asked the candidates to describe their plans for reforming the U.S. health care system, and voila.

If you want to learn more, the journal sponsored a symposium in which representatives from each of the campaigns participated and which is available as a video at www.nejm.org.

In my opinion the two biggest problems with our health care system (it might be a stretch to call it a “system”) are access and costs. Our collective health care woes cannot be solved without a coordinated effort to attack both problems; I do not believe we can realistically improve access without controlling costs and vice versa. How well do the candidates and their representatives tackle these barriers to a better health care system? I will offer no opinions in this matter until after the election, and you need to sort this out for yourselves anyway. Good luck.

I do promise to get back to health care policy as it affects the health of patients with various endocrine disorders, particularly diabetes mellitus, but only after the election.

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