Health Reform in the 2008 Presidential Campaign

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<p>Four-fifths of Americans agree that to achieve universal health insurance coverage, employers should either provide health benefits to their workers or contribute to the cost of their coverage, according to new survey data released today by The Commonwealth Fund.<bR><bR>As reported in <a href="/publications/issue-briefs/2008/jan/the-publics-views-on-health-care-reform-in-the-2008-presidential-election
">The Public's Views on Health Care Reform in the 2008 Presidential Election,</a> nearly 88 percent of Democrats, 73 percent of Republicans, and 79 percent of Independents would support an employer "play or pay" requirement. The new survey also found that a wide majority of Democratic, Republican, and Independent voters believe that health insurance costs should be shared by individuals, employers, and the government. Moreover, a majority of the public is strongly or somewhat in favor of requiring individuals to have health insurance--with government help provided to those unable to afford it.<bR><BR>Another report posted today on the Commonwealth Fund Web site evaluates the 2008 presidential candidates' health reform plans. Sara R. Collins, Ph.D., and Jennifer L. Kriss, the authors of <a href="/publications/fund-reports/2008/jan/envisioning-the-future--the-2008-presidential-candidates-health-reform-proposals
">Envisioning the Future: The 2008 Presidential Candidates' Health Reform Proposals,</a> say that while there are big differences between the plans put forth by Republican and Democratic candidates, the plans offered by candidates within the same party are relatively similar.<br><bR>Leading candidates of both parties seek to expand health coverage through the private insurance market. But Democrats would require employers to continue participating in the health insurance system, either by providing coverage directly or contributing to the cost of employees' coverage. Republicans support changes in the tax code that could significantly reduce employers' historically prominent role.<BR><br>"In some ways, the Republican proposals seek bigger changes to the way most people currently obtain coverage," said Collins, an assistant vice president at the Fund. "Most of their plans propose a diminishing role for employers, whereas the leading Democrats favor keeping employers in the game."</p>