This morning Julie Rovner, NPR’s ace healthcare reporter (read her November/December Q&A with CJR), turned in an excellent listener-inspired piece on presidential candidates’ personal decisions on health insurance. What’s left of the Democratic field—Clinton, Edwards, Obama, and Kucinich—all eventually answered; so did McCain.
While its fun to hear politicians describe how they themselves have navigated America’s complicated insurance market, the information is more relevant on the Republican side, since they all propose that individuals take on more responsibility for purchasing coverage. The candidate’s decisions aren’t just personal—they illustrate how they think their plans might actually work.
As Rovner details in a Web site sidebar, the candidates were less than forthcoming, and the major Republicans (save McCain) never responded. Their ranks, wealthy-men all, include several cancer survivors (Giuliani, McCain, Thompson), a group that can have trouble finding coverage at any price. Romney was mum too, even though as a resident of Massachusetts, he must abide by the very coverage requirements he signed into law.
Do they plan to pay their expenses out of pocket? Have they found plans that other Americans would consider affordable? Or are they hoping to make it to the Oval Office, and pop into the Bethesda Naval Hospital for some of that (gasp!) taxpayer-funded, government-run, care? We may never find out.