News Release

Clinton vs. Obama on Health Care


Woolhandler is professor of medicine at Harvard University and a co-founder of Physicians for a National Health Program. She said today: “Hillary and Obama are both right. Hillary’s individual mandates would, as Obama charges, financially punish uninsured families. Obama’s plan contains no individual mandate, but would, as Hillary charges, fail to cover 15 million or more Americans. In Massachusetts, where the individual mandates’ high fines on the uninsured will not kick in until the end of the year, few of the state’s quarter million middle-income uninsured have yet purchased coverage.

“Hillary’s, Obama’s and Massachusetts’ mandate model health plans leave the private insurance industry in charge. Hence, the plans will continue to waste nearly one of every three health dollars on the overhead and paperwork that private insurers generate.

“Covering everyone in a non-profit single-payer national health insurance plan could cut health administrative costs in half, freeing up enough money to cover all of the uninsured with no increase in costs. Until politicians embrace the single payer model, they will have to choose between unaffordable costs (on one hand) or leaving millions of Americans uninsured (on the other) — a choice that is all the more bitter because it is completely unnecessary.”

Young, national coordinator of Physicians for a National Health Program, said today: “Any reform based on the private health industry will fail. Experience has proven that private insurers can neither control costs nor assure universal coverage; they are simply too bureaucratic and expensive. The administrative overhead in the current private-based system is 31 percent. Single-payer systems have overheads that are only about half that.”

DeMoro is executive director of the California Nurses Association. She said today: “Candidates need to hear that you cannot reform health care by selling insurance. Expanding the reach of the insurance industry — which is at the center of all the candidates’ plans — is not universal health care and it will not control costs.

“Sparks between Senators Clinton and Obama on individual mandate — she’s for it, he’s against it — reflect an important component of that problem. Forcing people to buy insurance, especially while insurers can continue to charge as much as they want and still deny needed medical care, further entrenches a broken system, and it’s not humane.

“Only one solution will solve our health care crisis, a genuine universal, single-payer system, such as expanding and improving Medicare to cover everyone.”

The California Nurses Association has produced a number of video segments focusing on several presidential candidates.

For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; or David Zupan, (541) 484-9167