The reason why I would like to post these platforms is because recently I have been told that I have become more liberal and that not only should I not consider myself a Republican, but I should not even consider myself conservative. That had got me thinking. When I had first registered parties, I had spent months reading party platforms, researching party history, and reading views made by current party members, both politicians and authors. When I have discussed politics with people recently, it seems that some people, not all people, but some, have no idea what their party stands for. For this, I decided to reread the party platforms. For now, I will just post an excerpt and let the reader compare, but in the future I would like to thouroughly compare both content and message.
Here is the Republican's platform regarding health care:
Now here is the Democratic Party's platform:Health Care Reform: Putting Patients FirstAmericans have the best doctors, the best hospitals, the most innovative medical technology, and the best scientists in the world. Our challenge and opportunity is to build around them the best health care system. Republicans believe the key to real reform is to give control of the health care system to patients and their health care providers, not bureaucrats in government or business.
There are reasons why American families and businesses are dissatisfied with the current state of health care:
It is not enough to offer only increased access to a system that costs too much and does not work for millions of Americans. The Republican goal is more ambitious: Better health care for lower cost.
- Most Americans work longer and harder to pay for health care.
- Dedicated health care providers are changing careers to avoid litigation.
- The need to hold onto health insurance is driving family decisions about where to live and work.
- Many new parents worry about the loss of coverage if they choose to stay at home with their children.
- The need – and the bills – for long-term care are challenging families and government alike.
- American businesses are becoming less competitive in the global marketplace because of insurance costs.
- Some federal programs with no benefit to patients have grown exponentially, adding layers of bureaucracy between patients and their care.
The American people rejected Democrats’ attempted government takeover of health care in 1993, and they remain skeptical of politicians who would send us down that road. Republicans support the private practice of medicine and oppose socialized medicine in the form of a government-run universal health care system. Republicans pledge that as we reform our health care system:
Radical restructuring of health care would be unwise. We want all Americans to be able to choose the best health care provider, hospital, and health coverage for their needs. We believe that real reform is about improving your access to a health care provider, your control over care, and your ability to afford that care.
- We will protect citizens against any and all risky restructuring efforts that would complicate or ration health care.
- We will encourage health promotion and disease prevention.
- We will facilitate cooperation, not confrontation, among patients, providers, payers, and all stakeholders in the health care system.
- We will not put government between patients and their health care providers.
- We will not put the system on a path that empowers Washington bureaucrats at the expense of patients.
- We will not raise taxes instead of reducing health care costs.
- We will not replace the current system with the staggering inefficiency, maddening irrationality, and uncontrollable costs of a government monopoly.
We will continue to advocate for simplification of the system and the empowerment of patients. This is in stark contrast to the other party’s insistence on putting Washington in charge of patient care, which has blocked any progress on meeting these goals. We offer a detailed program that will improve the quality, cost, and coverage of health care throughout the nation, and we will turn that plan into reality.
Families and health care providers are the key to real reform, not lawyers and bureaucrats. To empower families, we must make insurance more affordable and more secure, and give employees the option of owning coverage that is not tied to their job. Patients should not have to worry about losing their insurance. Insurance companies should have to worry about losing patients’ business.
The current tax system discriminates against individuals who do not receive health care from their employers, gives more generous health tax benefits to upper income employees, and fails to provide every American with the ability to purchase an affordable health care plan. Republicans propose to correct inequities in the current tax code that drive up the number of uninsured and to level the playing field so that individuals who choose a health insurance plan in the individual market face no tax penalty. All Americans should receive the same tax benefit as those who are insured through work, whether through a tax credit or other means.
Individuals with pre-existing conditions must be protected; we will help these individuals by building on the experiences of innovative states rather than by creating a new unmanageable federal entitlement. We strongly urge that managed care organizations use the practice patterns and medical treatment guidelines from the state in which the patient lives when making medical coverage decisions.
Because the family is our basic unit of society, we fully support parental rights to consent to medical treatment for their children including mental health treatment, drug treatment, alcohol treatment, and treatment involving pregnancy, contraceptives, and abortion.
Prevent Disease and End the “Sick Care” System
Chronic diseases – in many cases, preventable conditions – are driving health care costs, consuming three of every four health care dollars. We can reduce demand for medical care by fostering personal responsibility within a culture of wellness, while increasing access to preventive services, including improved nutrition and breakthrough medications that keep people healthy and out of the hospital. To reduce the incidence of diabetes, cancer, heart disease, and stroke, we call for a national grassroots campaign against obesity, especially among children. We call for continuation of efforts to decrease use of tobacco, especially among the young.
A culture of wellness needs to include the treatment of mental health conditions. We believe all Americans should have access to affordable, quality health care, including individuals struggling with mental illness. For this reason, we believe it is important that mental health care be treated equally with physical health care.
Empower Individuals to Make the Best Health Care Choices.
Clear information about health care empowers patients. It lets consumers make better decisions about where to spend their health care dollars, thereby fostering competition and lowering costs. Patients must have information to make sound decisions about their health care providers, hospitals, and insurance companies.
Use Health Information Technology to Save Lives
Advances in medical technology are revolutionizing medicine. Information technology is key to early detection and treatment of chronic disease as well as fetal care and health care in rural areas – especially where our growing wireless communications network is available. The simple step of modernizing recordkeeping will mean faster, more accurate treatment, fewer medical errors, and lower costs. Closing the health care information gap can reduce both under-utilization (the diabetic who forgets to refill an insulin prescription) and over-utilization (the patient who endures repetitive tests because providers have not shared test results).
Protect Good Health Care Providers from Frivolous Lawsuits
Every patient must have access to legal remedies for malpractice, but meritless lawsuits drive up insurance rates to outrageous levels and ultimately drive up the number of uninsured. Frivolous lawsuits also drive up the cost of health care as health care providers are forced to practice defensive medicine, such as ordering unnecessary tests. Many leave their practices rather than deal with the current system. This emergency demands medical liability reform.
Reward Good Health Care Providers for Delivering Real Results
Patients deserve access to health care providers they trust who will personalize and coordinate their care to ensure they receive the right treatment with the right health care provider at the right time. Providers should be paid for keeping people well, not for the number of tests they run or procedures they perform. The current cookie-cutter system of reimbursement needs restructuring from the view of the patient, not the accountant or Washington bureaucrat.
Drive Costs Down With Interstate Competition
A state-regulated national market for health insurance means more competition, more choice, and lower costs. Families – as well as fraternal societies, churches and community groups, and small employers – should be able to purchase policies across state lines. The best practices and lowest prices should be available in every state. We call upon state legislators to carefully consider the cost of medical mandates, and we salute those Republican governors who are leading the way in demonstrating ways to provide affordable health care options.
Modernize Long-Term Care Options for All
The financial burdens and emotional challenges of ensuring adequate care for elderly family members affect every American, especially with today’s aging population. We must develop new ways to support individuals, not just institutions, so that older Americans can have a real choice whether to stay in their homes. This is true not only with regard to Medicaid, where we spend $100 billion annually on long-term care, but also for those who do not qualify for that assistance.
Encourage Primary Care as a Specialty
We believe in the importance of primary care specialties and supporting the physician’s role in the evaluation and management of disease. We also encourage practice in rural and underserved areas of America.
Federal research dollars should be spent as though lives are at stake – because, in fact, they are. Research protocols must consider the special needs of formerly neglected groups if we are to make significant progress against breast and prostate cancer, diabetes, and other killers.
Taxpayer-funded medical research must be based on sound science, with a focus on both prevention and treatment, and in accordance with the humane ethics of the Hippocratic Oath. In that regard, we call for a major expansion of support for the stem-cell research that now shows amazing promise and offers the greatest hope for scores of diseases – with adult stem cells, umbilical cord blood, and cells reprogrammed into pluripotent stem cells – without the destruction of embryonic human life. We call for a ban on human cloning and for a ban on the creation of or experimentation on human embryos for research purposes.
We believe medicines and treatments should be designed to prolong and enhance life, not destroy it. Therefore, federal funds should not be used for drugs that cause the destruction of human life. Furthermore, the Drug Enforcement Administration ban on use of controlled substances for physician-assisted suicide should be restored.
Finally, because it is isolated from the free market forces that encourage innovation, competition, affordability, and expansion of options, Medicare is especially susceptible to fraud and abuse. The program loses tens of billions of dollars annually in erroneous and fraudulent payments. We are determined to root out the fraud and eliminate this assault on the taxpayer.
MedicaidOur Medicaid obligations will consume $5 trillion over the next ten years. Medicaid now accounts for 20-25 percent of state budgets and threatens to overwhelm state governments for the indefinite future. We can do better while spending less. A first step is to give Medicaid recipients more health care options. Several states have allowed beneficiaries to buy regular health insurance with their Medicaid dollars. This removes the Medicaid “stamp” from people’s foreheads, provides beneficiaries with better access to doctors, and saves taxpayers’ money. We must ensure that taxpayer money is focused on caring for U.S. citizens and other individuals in our country legally.
Affordable, Quality Health Care Coverage for All AmericansForgive the formatting differences between the two platforms, and I hope reading these two can help in your analysis with the current debate, regarding what commentators, politicians, professionals, journalists, and bloggers say about either side of the matter.
If one thing came through in the platform hearings, it was that Democrats are united around a commitment that every American man, woman, and child be guaranteed affordable, comprehensive healthcare. In meeting after meeting, people expressed moral outrage with a health care crisis that leaves millions of Americans–including nine million children–without health insurance and millions more struggling to pay rising costs for poor quality care. Half of all personal bankruptcies in America are caused by medical bills. We spend more on health care than any other country, but we’re ranked 47th in life expectancy and 43rd in child mortality. Our nation faces epidemics of obesity and chronic diseases as well as new threats like pandemic flu and bioterrorism. Yet despite all of this, less than four cents of every health care dollar is spent on prevention and public health.
The American people understand that good health is the foundation of individual achievement and economic prosperity. Ensuring quality, affordable health care for every single American is essential to children’s education, workers’ productivity and businesses’ competitiveness. We believe that covering all is not just a moral imperative, but is necessary to making our health system workable and affordable. Doing so would end cost-shifting from the uninsured, promote prevention and wellness, stop insurance discrimination, help eliminate health care disparities, and achieve savings through competition, choice, innovation, and higher quality care. While there are different approaches within the Democratic Party about how best to achieve the commitment of covering every American, with everyone in and no one left out, we stand united to achieve this fundamental objective through the legislative process.
We therefore oppose those who advocate policies that would thrust millions of Americans out of their current private employer-based coverage without providing them access to an affordable, comprehensive alternative, thereby subjecting them to the kind of insurance discrimination that leads to excessive premiums or coverage denials for older and sicker Americans. We reject those who have steadfastly opposed insurance coverage expansions for millions of our nation’s children while they have protected overpayments to insurers and allowed underpayments to our nation’s doctors. Our vision of a strengthened and improved health care system for all Americans stands in stark contrast to the Republican Party’s and includes:
Covering All Americans and Providing Real Choices of Affordable Health Insurance Options.
Families and individuals should have the option of keeping the coverage they have or choosing from a wide array of health insurance plans, including many private health insurance options and a public plan. Coverage should be made affordable for all Americans with subsidies provided through tax credits and other means.
Health care should be a shared responsibility between employers, workers, insurers, providers and government. All Americans should have coverage they can afford; employers should have incentives to provide coverage to their workers; insurers and providers should ensure high quality affordable care; and the government should ensure that health insurance is affordable and provides meaningful coverage. As affordable coverage is made available, individuals should purchase health insurance and take steps to lead healthy lives.
An End to Insurance Discrimination.
Health insurance plans should accept all applicants and be prohibited from charging different prices based on pre-existing conditions. They should compete on the cost of providing health care and the quality of that care, not on their ability to avoid or over-charge people who are or may get sick. Premiums collected by insurers should be primarily dedicated to care, not profits.
No one should have to worry about losing health coverage if they change or lose their job.
Families should have health insurance coverage similar to what Members of Congress enjoy. They should not be forced to bear the burden of skyrocketing premiums, unaffordable deductibles or benefit limits that leave them at financial risk when they become sick. We will finally achieve long-overdue mental health and addiction treatment parity.
An Emphasis on Prevention and Wellness.
Chronic diseases account for 70 percent of the nation’s overall health care spending. We need to promote healthy lifestyles and disease prevention and management especially with health promotion programs at work and physical education in schools. All Americans should be empowered to promote wellness and have access to preventive services to impede the development of costly chronic conditions, such as obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and hypertension. Chronic-care and behavioral health management should be assured for all Americans who require care coordination. This includes assistance for those recovering from traumatic, life-altering injuries and illnesses as well as those with mental health and substance use disorders. We should promote additional tobacco and substance abuse prevention.
A Modernized System That Lowers Cost and Improves the Quality of Care.
As Americans struggle with increasing health care costs, we believe a strengthened, uniquely American system should provide the highest-quality, most cost-effective care. This should be advanced by aggressive efforts to cut costs and eliminate waste from our health system, which will save the typical family up to $2,500 per year. These efforts include driving adoption of state-of-the-art health information technology systems, privacy-protected electronic medical records, reimbursement incentives, and an independent organization that reviews drugs, devices, and procedures to ensure that people get the right care at the right time. By working with the medical community to improve quality, these reforms will have the added benefit of reducing the prevalence of lawsuits related to medical errors. We should increase competition in the insurance and drug markets; remove some of the cost burden of catastrophic illness from employers and their employees; and lower drug costs by allowing Medicare to negotiate for lower prices, permitting importation of safe medicines from other developed countries, creating a generic pathway for biologic drugs, and increasing use of generics in public programs.
A Strong Health Care Workforce.
Through training and reimbursement incentives, there must be a commitment to sufficient and well-qualified primary care physicians and nurses as well as direct care workers.
Commitment to the Elimination of Disparities in Health Care.
We must end health care disparities among minorities, American Indians, women, and low-income people through better research and better funded community-based health centers. We will make our health care system culturally sensitive and accessible to those who speak different languages. We will support programs that diversify the health are workforce to ensure culturally effective care. We will also address the social determinants that fuel health disparities, and empower the communities most impacted by providing them the resources and technical assistance to be their own agents of wellness. We will speed up and improve reimbursements by the Indian Health Service.
Public Health and Research.
Health and wellness is a shared responsibility among individuals and families, school systems, employers, the medical and public health workforce and government at all levels. We will ensure that Americans can benefit from healthy environments that allow them to pursue healthy choices. Additionally, as childhood obesity rates have more than doubled in the last 30 years, we will work to ensure healthy environments in our schools.
We must fight HIV/AIDS in our country and around the world. We support increased funding into research, care and prevention of HIV/AIDS. We support a comprehensive national strategic plan to combat HIV/AIDS and a Ryan White Care Act designed and funded to meet today’s epidemic, that ends ADAP waiting lists and that focuses on the communities such as African Americans and Latino Americans who are disproportionately impacted through an expanded and renewed minority HIV/AIDS initiative, and on new epicenters such as the Southern part of our nation. We support providing Medicaid coverage to more low-income HIV-positive Americans.
Health care reform must also provide adequate incentives for innovation to ensure that Americans have access to evidence-based and cost-effective health care. Research should be based on science, not ideology. For the millions of Americans and their families suffering from debilitating physical and emotional effects of disease, time is a precious commodity, and it is running out. Yet, over the past eight years, the current Administration has not only failed to promote biomedical and stem cell research, it has actively stood in the way of that research. We cannot tolerate any further inaction or obstruction. We need to invest in biomedical research and stem cell research, so that we are at the leading edge of prevention and treatment. This includes adequate funding for research into diseases such as heart disease, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, breast cancer, diabetes, autism and other common and rare diseases, and disorders. We will increase funding to the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation, and the National Cancer Institutes.
A Strong Partnership with States, Local Governments, Tribes, and Territories.
Recognizing that considerable progress in health care delivery has been pioneered by state and local governments, necessary nationwide reform should build on successful state models of care.
A Strong Safety-Net.
Achieving our health goals requires strengthening the safety-net programs, safety-net providers, and public health infrastructure to fill in gaps and ensure public safety in times of disease outbreak or disaster.
Empowerment and Support of Older Americans and People with Disabilities.
Seniors and people with disabilities should have access to quality affordable long-term care services, and those services should be readily available at home and in the community. Americans should not be forced to choose between getting care and living independent and productive lives.
Reproductive Health Care.
We oppose the current Administration’s consistent attempts to undermine a woman’s ability to make her own life choices and obtain reproductive health care, including birth control. We will end health insurance discrimination against contraception and provide compassionate care to rape victims. We will never put ideology above women’s health.
As we improve and strengthen our health care system, we must do so in a fiscally responsible way that ensures that we get value for the dollars that are invested.