Friday, February 01, 2008

Doctors in the Democratic Debate

I watched the democratic debate last evening for evidence that there was a tangible way healthcare reform could take place. I failed to hear anything about "doctors" mentioned much.

So I used the New York Times handy-dandy transcript analyzer and found that the word "doctor" was uttered just twice in last night's democratic debate, once by Senator Clinton and once by Senator Obama. "Nurse" or "physician" were never uttered.

Here were their words:
SEN. CLINTON: "And then, when the celebrations are over, the next president will walk into the Oval Office. And waiting there will be a stack of problems, problems inherited from a failed administration -- a war to end in Iraq and a war to resolve in Afghanistan, an economy that is not working for the vast majority of Americans, but well for the wealthy and the well-connected; tens of millions of people either without health insurance at all or with insurance that doesn't amount to much, because it won't pay what your doctor or your hospital need -- (applause) -- an energy crisis that we fail to act on at our peril; global warming, which the United States must lead in trying to contend with and reverse; and then all of the problems that we know about and the ones we can't yet predict."

SEN. OBAMA: "But understand that number one, Hillary says that she's got enough subsidies.

Well, we've priced out both our plan and Senator Clinton's plan, and some of the subsidies are not going to be sufficient, point number one.

Point number two is that I am actually not interested in just capping premiums. I want to lower premiums by about an average of $2,500 per family, per year, because people right now cannot afford it. I can't tell you how many folks I meet who have premiums that are so high that essentially they don't have health insurance. They have house insurance. (Scattered applause.)

What they do is they have a $10,000 deductible or what have you to try to reduce costs. They never go to a doctor. And that ended up something that we paid for. So I'm trying to reduce premiums for all families.

But the last point I want to make has to do with how we're going to actually get this plan done. You know, Ted Kennedy said that he is confident that we will get universal health care with me as president, and he's been working on it longer than I think about -- than anybody. But he's gone through 12 of these plans, and each time they have failed.

And part of the reason I think that they have failed is we have not been able to bring Democrats, Republicans together to get it done."
Maybe the fact that doctors and nurses are rarely mentioned has something to do with why there have been so many failures of healthcare reform before.


Reference: The full debate transcript can be found here.

Update 13:00 CST - In the spirit of bipartisanship, I also reviewed the most recent Republican presidential debate transcript from Florida and "doctor," "physician," or "nurse" were never uttered there, not even once.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Unless you're talking about candidate Dr. Ron Paul, no other candidate really cares about doctors. Especially the Democrats, and that is because any of their health care reforms will involve physician pay cuts, increased demand for services, and increased medical bureaucracy.

The republicans (except Dr. Ron Paul again) are as clueless as the democrats, but the only good thing is that they are proposing nothing that will radically change the dynamic of health care in the U.S. We need more market driven economics in health care, not fewer (which is what Hillary and Barack want).