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Healthcare reform is on the lips of every 2008 Presidential hopeful. Take a look beyond the lip service and examine the platforms of Democratic and Republican front-runners.
As a result, Democratic and Republican candidates are rolling out health reform platforms that promise to cover the uninsured while also retaining choice. There is much talk of "shared responsibility" between the government, industry and consumers for expanding access to care, and little enthusiasm for abandoning the employer-based insurance system in favor of a single-payer, government-run plan.
Health reform is a lower priority issue for Republican voters, who are wary of big government programs and higher taxes. Instead of expanding federal services, Republicans look to boost coverage by offering tax credits and deductions that make it easier for individuals to purchase insurance.
Even former Massachusetts Governor MITT ROMNEY, who helped engineer that state's health reform initiative, shies away from talk of expanding federal programs and mandating coverage.
For insurers and health plans, broader healthcare coverage could expand the health insurance market. Subsidies and tax incentives, as well as coverage mandates, promise to increase the number of covered lives and to give patients more resources to pay their bills. Democratic plans "could be very good for insurers because we would see more people covered," explains Sandy Lutz, managing director of PricewaterhouseCoopers' Health Research Institute.