Sunday, March 25, 2007

SEIU/ CAP Health Care Forum Post-Mortem

It's Sunday and the wrap-ups are in from yesterday's SEIU/CAP Health Care Forum in Las Vegas, NV.

Las Vegas Review-Journal:

Richardson, speaking after Edwards, said attention should be focused on the need for more funding for cancer research.

Unlike Edwards, Richardson said he didn't think taxes would be needed to universalize health care. He proposed expanding programs already in place, such as the federal employees' health plan, Medicare, Medicaid, state children's health insurance programs and veterans' health programs, and requiring that everyone be covered.

Cutting health care costs and redirecting money being spent in Iraq to health care would pay for these changes, Richardson said.

And that wasn't the most ambitious proposal from Richardson: He said he'd get it all done in a single year.

"I believe with a Democratic president, a Democratic Congress, I believe this plan that I outlined, which is basically a plan that is taking new ideas into an existing framework, could be achieved my first year as president. I believe it's doable," he said.

New York Times (registration required):

Gov. Bill Richardson of New Mexico offered a potpourri of ideas to achieve universal coverage, including tax credits to help people buy insurance and an option to let people ages 55 to 64 buy coverage through Medicare.

To help pay for his proposals, Mr. Richardson said, he would “get out of Iraq” and redirect money from the military to health care.


Mr. Richardson said universal coverage “could be achieved in my first year as president,” if voters sent more Democrats to Congress.

As president, he said, he would duplicate the steps he has taken as governor, to “cut junk food out of schools” and to ban smoking in most workplaces, including bars, restaurants and stores.

The Washington Post:

Edwards was followed by Richardson, who for the first time offered details of his plan for universal coverage. As a governor who has made his record of cutting taxes in New Mexico part of his calling card as a candidate, Richardson said his plan would not require new revenue. "This is a plan that would not add bureaucracy," he said. "This is a plan that could be paid for without any new taxes."

Richardson said he would fund his proposal by ending the war in Iraq and shifting some of the billions being spent there to health care.

The Politico:


The governor of New Mexico said, “We spend $2 trillion a year on health care and 31 percent of that is spent on bureaucracy and red tape. We must devise a strategy that, first of all, does not create any more bureaucracy.”

What is his plan?

All Americans should be able to purchase the same coverage as members of Congress and the president. Americans 55 and over should be able to purchase their coverage through Medicare. Veterans would have access to health care “anywhere they want, anytime they want.”

How much will it cost and how will he pay for it?

Richardson did not give a cost. As to paying for it, he said: “Get out of Iraq and put the $400 billion we are spending there into human needs. Reduce and eliminate inefficiencies (in the health care system). This is a plan that could be paid for without any new taxes."

When will we get it?

“With a Democratic president and a stronger Democratic Congress, the plan I outlined will be achieved in my first year as president.”

Most intriguing line:

“I just signed a statewide smoking ban in New Mexico (banning smoking in bars, restaurants, stores, and workplaces). I would do that as president.”


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