The Democrats on health care.

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Sept. 7 2007 10:22 AM

The Great Presidential Mashup

The Democrats on health care.

On September 12, Slate, Yahoo! and the Huffington Post will host the first-ever online-only presidential candidate mashup. Armed with your questions, Charlie Rose is asking the top Democratic presidential candidates about their views on health care, Iraq, education, and other issues. Their video responses will be coded and put at your disposalempowering you to create your own custom candidate forum. Want to hear every candidate's position on the war? Hillary's positions on every issue? Obama's views on health care? Our mashup will allow you to do all of the above.

But before we get there, there's homework to do. What have the candidates said on the issues so far? Are they changing their stories? Our cheat sheet on the previous debates will help you be the judge. Here we're offering background information on health care, one of the three issues selected by readers for the Slate/Yahoo!/Huffington Postcandidate mashup. Read the candidates' stances below.

Sen. Joe Biden

Sen. Joe Biden

AFL-CIO Debate, Aug. 7, 2007

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We need not 100,000 new cops, but 100,000 new nurses that we fund in order to make things better.

We have to be in a position where we don't let the enemy become theexcuse me, the perfect become the enemy of the good. In the first year, I'd insure every single, solitary child in America and make sure catastrophic insurance exists, and for every single person in America, while we move toward a national health-care system covering anybody.

Sen. Hillary Clinton

Sen. Hillary Clinton

South Carolina Debate, April 26, 2007

I tried to achieve universal health care back in '93 or '94, and I still have the scars from that experience. You know, I take it as a perverse form of flattery, actually, that if [Republicans] weren't worried, they would not be so vitriolic in their criticism of me. … I believe that the country is ready for change. I believe America is ready now for universal health care.

All of the ideas that you're going to hear about in this campaign are very important to get out to the public so that people can actually think about them, examine how they would affect their lives because I do have the experience of having put forth a plan, with many of the features that John and Barack just mentioned. And people were enthusiastic about it initially, but then after the insurance companies and the pharmaceutical companies got finished working on it, everybody got nervous and so politically we were not successful.

Well, I'm ready to try again, and there's three things we've got to do. We've got to control and decrease costs for everyone. This is not just about the uninsured. Yes, we have nearly 47 million, but we've got many millions more who have an insurance policy that they can barely afford and that they can't get the treatments they need under it. We have to cover everybody, but we've got to improve quality. We can save money within the existing system. I am not ready to put new money into a system that doesn't work until we've tried to figure out how to get the best outcomes from the money we already have.

CNN/ YouTube Debate, July 23, 2007

The fact that this is happening in a country as rich as ours is just a national disgrace. And, yes, I did try in '93 and '94, and I like to say I have the scars to show for it, but I learned a lot about what we have to do. And having a plan, yes, that's part of it. But more important, we have to have a sense of national commitment that universal health care is an American value. We have to quit being told the special interests, like the insurance companies and the drug companies, that, somehow, we can't do what most other developed countries do, which is cover everybody and provide decency and respect to every single person in this country with health care.

New Hampshire Debate, June 3, 2007

Well, I'm thrilled that universal health care is back on the national agenda. You know, as we remember, back in '93 and '94 we tried to come forward with a plan. We weren't successful. I have the scars to show for that experience. But I am convinced that now when the Democrats all are coming forward saying, "This has to be a national goal," we then can try to get the political will.

The most important thing is not the plan. Because there are only a few ways to do this. And we're all talking pretty much about the same things. From my perspective, we have to lower cost, improve quality, and cover everybody.

What's important, and what I learned in the previous effort, is you've got to have the political will–a broad coalition of business and labor, doctors, nurses, hospitals–everybody standing firm when the inevitable attacks come from the insurance companies and the pharmaceutical companies that don't want to change the system because they make so much money out of it.

I have put forth approximately $120 billion in savings from health-care changes that can come; everything from electronic medical records to better management of chronic care. That is about in the ballpark of what all of us believe it will cost to cover everyone.

The challenge that I'm wrestling with is: How do we realize the savings? Now, I don't think there's any Democrat that is not going to let the Bush tax cuts on the wealthiest Americans expire. We're all going to do that. So, that money will be available. How, then, do we set forth the priorities that we want to address, including energy efficiency, dealing with global climate change, and so much else?

AFL-CIO Debate, Aug. 7, 2007

You know, I think I'll be so busy, I'm just not going to worry about [perpetual campaigning]. We're going to try to do national health care as soon as we get in there. We're going to have to bring people together to do that.

Sen. Christopher Dodd

Sen. Christopher Dodd

CNN/ YouTube Debate, July 23, 2007

[On whether his plan would cover undocumented workers] It would. People who live in this country—children certainly would be covered. And I'm in support of the immigration policy here that requires them to contribute so that … if they're paying part of that thing, then they also get covered. Because, frankly, I don't want them contributing disease problems and health issues to the rest of the ...

New Hampshire Debate, June 3, 2007

Well, listen, this is a–there's not a person in this audience or who's watching this program who wouldn't tell you that they've encountered the problems of the health-care system in this country.
It is shameful. We rank 42nd in infant mortality in the United States worldwide. We rank 45th in life expectancy. It is shameful that in the 21st century, we have 47 million of our fellow citizens without health-care coverage; 9 million children. And the number's growing every single day.

Look, as we've said here, there's basic agreement about universality here, dealing with information technology, preventive care, chronic illnesses–what's been missing in all of this is the ability to bring people together to get the job done. That's what I've done for 26 years. That's what you need to be able to do, because no one party is going to write this whole thing. It's going to take cooperation to get it done.

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