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The Health Care Crisis in the United States: The Issues and Proposed Solutions by the 2008 Presidential Candidates

Pareto, Marcos Pompeu (2008): The Health Care Crisis in the United States: The Issues and Proposed Solutions by the 2008 Presidential Candidates.

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Abstract

The United States has state of the art technology and world renowned expertise in medical treatment, yet in terms of healthcare it shows a dramatically poor performance in relation to the other industrialized countries. This situation is surprising, since one would expect that a free market system run almost entirely by the private sector should show a much better performance.

This issue has reached the point of being one of the most important national concerns and the subject of serious political and economic arguments - not only regarding how the system should be improved, but also whether it should remain being run by the private sector under a free market approach or whether it should be run by the government and made accessible to the entire population. The first option is supported by the arguments that public initiatives often perform poorly and that free-market competition should prevail. Contrarily, the other side claims that the system is only nominally a free market, that empirical evidence shows it's not working as it should, and that other successful healthcare systems are mostly government operated.

As is stands, the health care issue acquired national importance and is presented as a major component of both presidential candidates programs, yet each favoring a different approach to improve accessibility and lower healthcare costs. Republican Senator McCain relies on improving the system by maintaining its current private enterprise, free market characteristics, while Democratic Senator Barrack Obama favours providing universal coverage and lower costs through a higher government intervention in the system. This paper examines the approaches proposed by both candidates and analyses the potential impact their plans may have on the health care system. While the lack of more detailed implementation details makes difficult accessing the effective result of each policy, the comparative review of the alternative approaches presented in this paper will help the reader to to judge for him or herself which could be the more appropriate to upgrade the system and attain a higher performance level.

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