Category Archives: Politics

Health Care Opinion Leaders’ Views on the Presidential Candidates’ Health Reform Plans

Source: Katherine K. Shea, Sara R. Collins, and Karen Davis, Commonwealth Fund, January 2008

From the overview:
The 13th Commonwealth Fund/Modern Healthcare Health Care Opinion Leaders Survey asked a diverse group of experts for their perspective on the health care reform proposals of the 2008 presidential candidates. Survey participants strongly support reform proposals that applied a mixed private-public market approach. Additional favored policy strategies for reform include a requirement for individuals to obtain health insurance, new private market regulations, and a requirement for employers to provide coverage or contribute to a coverage fund. Alternatively, respondents think proposals that focus on tax incentives to purchase individual private health insurance are not an effective method for controlling the rising costs of health care or achieving universal coverage. Health care opinion leaders call for the next president to simultaneously address universal coverage and quality, efficiency, and cost containment policies to move our health care system toward high performance.

Related commentaries:
Reform Is No ‘Either-Or’: We Must Fix the Payment System Along with Access
Darrell Kirch, M.D, president and chief executive officer of the Association of American Medical Colleges
Tough Choices Ahead: Candidates Ignore Pain of Needed Cuts to Health Costs
Dallas L. Salisbury, president and CEO of the Employee Benefit Research Institute and a member of The Commonwealth Fund Commission on a High Performance Health System

Related resources:
Data Brief
Chartpack
Tables
Methodology

Health Care in the 2008 Presidential Primaries

Source: Robert J. Blendon, Drew E. Altman, Claudia Deane, John M. Benson, Mollyann Brodie, and Tami Buhr, New England Journal of Medicine, Vol. 358 no. 4, January 24, 2008

For the first time since 1928, neither the Democratic nor the Republican party has an incumbent president or vice president among the candidates in its field, so both primaries are particularly open to all challengers and very competitive. In this article, we report findings from public opinion polls that assessed how health care issues might affect voters’ choices in the 2008 presidential primaries.

This article examines the role of health care in the 2008 presidential primary elections in two ways. First, it draws on data from multiple opinion surveys to better understand how Republicans and Democrats differ in their values, beliefs, and attitudes with regard to health care and health care policy. Second, it focuses particularly on voters who say they are going to participate in the early Democratic and Republican primaries and caucuses, looking at differences in their health care preferences and the extent to which the health care issue is affecting their vote.

Finally, we explore how the differences in views and desires concerning health care among Republicans and Democrats are reflected in the kinds of proposals being put forward by the major candidates, and we assess the ways in which these divisions might affect the general-election campaign.
See also:
The Amazing Noncollapsing U.S. Health Care System — Is Reform Finally at Hand?

Presidential Politics and the Resurgence of Health Care Reform

Source: New England Journal of Medicine

The 2008 presidential election will not resolve the debate over health care reform, but the results will go a long way toward determining the future of U.S. health policy. It would be a mistake, however, to read the candidates’ plans too literally. A plan offered during the primaries usually looks different in key respects from the plan that a newly elected president takes to Congress, to say nothing of any legislation that Congress actually passes. Still, it is clear that there is a wide partisan gap on health care reform that reflects ideological divisions over the roles that government and market forces should play in the health care system. And the further U.S. health policy moves from incrementalism, the more that partisan divide is likely to be exposed.

OK, Convince Us: Will the GOP and union members ever kiss and make up?

Source: Dan Seligman, Campaigns & Elections, Vol. 28 no. 10, October 2007
(subscription required)

American Viewpoint’s client roster reads like a Republican Who’s Who. … So when Randall Gutermuth mentions his firm’s latest client at parties, it tends to raise some eyebrows. “The National Education Association has over a million Republican members, so it makes a lot of sense to me that they’d be reaching out to those members,” said Gutermuth, who is American Viewpoint’s director of political affairs. The firm is helping the teachers’ union reach out to those members–not a simple task for what many on the right view as the great bastion of liberalism. … So the union landscape this cycle is some pretty unique terrain. Politicians are bypassing union leadership to court individual workers, and unions find themselves trying to court their own members. The question is: Will the grout that binds these workers hold them together politically for yet another campaign cycle?

Wikipedia For Politics? A New Site Gives It A Try

Source: Declan McCullagh, CNET News.com, October 9, 2007

A political Web site set to launch on Tuesday plans to become a kind of Wikipedia-like destination specializing in elections, governments, and political candidates.

The idea behind PoliticalBase.com is to provide a neutral, one-stop source of information about politics (and politicians) to which anyone can contribute. Changes must be approved by a staff editor before they take effect.
Related sites:
From the Center for Media and Democracy:
PRWatch
Coming this Week in Congress
SourceWatch
The 2008 U.S. Congressional Elections Portal
U.S. presidential election, 2008
Congresspedia
TobaccoWiki
See also:
Beta of LOUIS (Library Of Unified Information Sources) Database
Citizendium

The Politics of Economic Insecurity

Source: Elisabeth Jacobs, Brookings Institution, Issues in Governance Studies, no. 10, September 2007

Recent media reports suggest a rising tide of economic populism among presidential candidates and voters. In newspapers’ business sections, personal finance columnists offer advice for avoiding mortgage foreclosure, managing credit card debt and navigating a job search. On the political pages, economic rhetoric aimed at winning over anxious middle-class families forms the core of the presidential campaign messages from many candidates. This paper shows, through data and analysis, that the populist message is rooted in an empirical reality.

Economic insecurity is perhaps best understood as the intersection between “perceived” and “actual” downside risk, which carry nearly equal importance in politics. Americans’ assessments of their personal financial well-being play at least some part in shaping their candidate preferences. And the empirical reality reflected by household financial data should play a critical role for candidates’ and elected officials’ framing of policy options, particularly when faced with the challenge of efficiently targeting scarce public resources. Of course, the relationship between perceived and actual risk is an intimate one, as perceptions are often informed by, and inform, reality.

The ANES Guide To Public Opinion And Electoral Behavior

Source: The American National Election Studies, University of Michigan, Center for Political Studies, 2007

The Guide provides immediate access to tables and graphs that display the ebb and flow of public opinion, electoral behavior, and choice in American politics over time. It serves as a resource for political observers, policy makers, and journalists, teachers, students, and social scientists. The Guide currently contains data from 1948 through 2004.

Purple America

Source: Bob Moser, The Nation, Vol. 285 no. 5, August 13, 2007

What on God’s green earth has gotten into the Wilkes County (NC) Democrats? Here it is, the first pretty April Saturday of a snowy, blowy spring. There’s yards to mow, balls to toss, plants to plant, Blue Ridge Mountains to hike–all of which you’d think would be mighty tempting on Democratic convention day in a place where Republicans have a damn near two-to-one edge. “Welcome to red-hot Republican territory,” says Dick Sloop, a career-military retiree turned antiwar protester who’s the new county Democratic chair. “We’ve been like the homeless around here: silent and invisible. The best we ever did in my lifetime, we had two Democrats once on a five-seat county commission.” Even here in western North Carolina, where Republicans have proliferated since the Civil War (when the woods were full of Union sympathizers rather than pro-lifers), Wilkes County–Bible-thumping, economically slumping–has stood out for its fire-and-brimstone conservatism. It’s been a stiff challenge to find folks willing to run against the Republicans. Hell, it’s been rare to hear anybody publicly admit to being a Democrat. “You’ve got a lot of people in this county who probably couldn’t tell you if they’ve ever met one,” Sloop says. But in a scene playing out this year all across “red America,” from these lush hills to the craggy outcroppings of the Mountain West, previously unfathomable crowds of Democrats are streaming up the steps of the old county courthouse, past bobbing blue balloons and Welcome Democrats! signs. They’re hopping mad about the national state of things but simultaneously giddy with a new-found hope–finally!–for their party.

New Resource: PolitiFact

Source: St. Petersburg Times and CQ.com

New resource from the St. Petersburg Times and CQ.com. Access is free.
PolitiFact is a project of the St. Petersburg Times and Congressional Quarterly to help you find the truth in the presidential campaign. Every day, reporters and researchers from the Times and CQ will analyze the candidates’ speeches, TV ads and interviews and determine whether the claims are accurate.
See also:
FactCheck.org from the Annenberg Public Policy Center of the University of Pennsylvania