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Election '08

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On The Ropes

Politics is not a game for the faint of heart and as this political season wears on it is testing the mettle of seasoned presidential campaign veteran John McCain.

The one-time front-runner is quickly becoming an "also-ran". With his support of the troop surge in Iraq and steadfast support of the war in Iraq overall, he has fallen out of favor with voters and donors alike. The former powerhouse fundraiser is now having difficulty filling seats at conservative breakfasts where he is the primary speaker.

The financial problems for the McCain campaign seem to be increasingly serious as he has had to lay off a number of campaign staffers and has had several more resign from the campaign. The campaign seems to be in deep trouble overall and is showing no signs of resurgence despite the public optimism shown by McCain in recent interviews.

Some have speculated that McCain may pull out of the race in 2008 and try again in 2012 but that seems unlikely to most veteran political analysts. McCain who will be 71 in August, is not likely to find any easier time campaigning for the White House in the future than he has had this time around.

The voters seem to not be looking for a hardened warrior as much as an intelligent leader in the White House. Despite his sometimes harsh criticism of the current administration, he has failed in many people's eyes to lead on the issues facing America. From his support of the troop surge in Iraq to his sponsorship of the failed "Immigration Reform Act", McCain has lost much of the credibility he gained in 2000 when he took on George W. Bush head to head in the Republican primaries.

With the campaign on apparent life support, most observers conclude that this will be the end of the presidential campaign road for John McCain. Even with the scandals facing both Romney and Giuliani, it does not appear that McCain will ever be able to win the elusive presidential nomination of the Republican party that he has repeatedly sought.
Troy Wilson-Ripsom - Staff Writer | Give your feedback on this article.

Independent View from the Campaign Trail: Health Care Reform

From all the early indications, it appears that the biggest issue coming in the 2008 election is how we "fix" healthcare. If you believe the candidates, Congress and other special interest groups, you'd think there are people dying in the streets due to a lack of medical care. I don't see that happening here in the Los Angeles area and we are overrun with millions of uninsured illegal aliens. Our emergency rooms are overcrowded, but everyone appears to be getting the care they need.

What scares me the most and should scare everyone else as well is that the politicians are going to whip everyone into a frenzy over health care and then pass some poorly thought-out, politically correct, special interest adjusted version of a national health care bill without ever sitting back and asking one simple question, "What is in the best interest of all Americans?"

Instead of their usual thinking along the lines of, "What is going to get me reelected?"; "What is going to get me on TV the most?; "What is going to make my big donors the most happy so I can get a cushy, lobbyist job from them when I quit being a public servant", for once they need to think of just, "What is in the best interest of the American people now and for the long-run?" Unfortunately, I don't believe that either Congress or a major party President will look at the situation and the answers from that stand-point.

Right now the debate is caught up in partisan politics and that is just wrong for something as important as this issue. Congress must be called on to work as one to come up with the best solution for all Americans, including Congress - no separate deal for them this time.

Here are some preliminary thoughts on the subject:

First, let me say I believe that most people are fairly happy with their health care and how it is provided. If you work for an employer that provides insurance you are in pretty good shape. It's estimated that there are 40-47 million Americans, about 15%, who don't have insurance. So 85% have some sort of health insurance - not bad. Not 100%, but still, in a free market economy, not a bad number.

Today, less than 15% of total health care expenditures today are actually paid by the patient. Most people don't know what anything costs, or even care, as long as the insurance covers it. We leave it up to the doctors and insurance companies to argue about what and how much should be paid. As a result, costs are spiraling ever higher and in many ways service is getting worse.

Insurance companies spend a tremendous amount of health care money on administration to make sure they make a profit and limit the cost of services they provide to the patient. Recent estimates indicate that up to 25% of health care spending goes towards administrative costs - over $500 billion annually. That would buy a tremendous amount of health care for not only the uninsureds, but the rest of us as well.

Since the doctors are paid by the insurance companies, they really work for the insurers and not the patients. Shouldn't your doctor work first for you, the patient?

Truly something is out of whack with a system like this, but how should we adjust it to make more sense for the individual who needs health care?

Here's an interesting first thought from Greg Scanlon of Consumers for Health Care Choices that makes good, common sense. He advises the following: "The first step in preserving what's good in the American health care system while purging the problems would be by giving patients direct control over their health care dollars. Instead of buying coverage for employees, private employers should give workers the money to buy whatever coverage they want. Should employees opt for relatively less expensive coverage, they ought to be allowed to keep the balance to cover the out-of-pocket expenses of routine care. This is effectively the approach under medical savings accounts."

In addition to that, I believe there should be a tax credit for uncovered medical expenses to help insure the self-employed and others who do not have or choose not to buy any insurance.

In order to truly reform health care in this country, the consumers of the health care must be involved and make decisions. Give the American health care consumer choice and responsibility. Only then will costs start to decrease and quality increase. Look at almost any industry in this country, when consumers have a voice, the products get better and the costs come down. It's time to use the same principles here.

This is a very complicated matter and one that should not be rushed into without a lot of thought and without of lot of NON-PARTISAN ideas being weighed as to just what would be the best solution for the country and all Americans as a whole. Whatever final shape the solution would ultimately take, I will promise you one thing right now, whatever bill is proposed and passed I, as President, will only sign it into law if it covers all Americans including Congress. This is too important an issue to allow Congress to pass something that they can opt out of as they have with Social Security. If they are required to be involved in the program, it will probably be a better program.

I will provide more specific details at a later date as to how I believe a rework of the health care system should be done and how extensive those changes should be at this time. In the interim I will be researching the pros and cons of several different solutions and welcome your feedback and ideas.
Frank McEnulty - Independent Candidate for President | Give your feedback on this article. | Visit the campaign website www.frankforpresident.org today.

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