Welcome to AMSA's Health Policy and a Pint!

Health Policy and a Pint is an information source for members of the American Medical Student Association (AMSA) and anyone interested in health policy to discuss current topics in health policy over a glass of their favorite beverage in a fun and relaxing environment. We will be recommending articles monthly for your group to take to a bar, a park or anywhere you want to promote active and lively discussion. If you get fired up by what you read, we'll also give you the info to do something about it. So check back monthly, post your thoughts and raise a glass to your health!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

OCTOBER Topic: Special Election-Themed HP&P

OBAMA vs MCCAIN: Who will deliver quality, affordable healthcare for all?

With all the back-and-forth about health care in this year's presidential election, sometimes it can be hard to know what to think about the candidate's plans. Having a discussion with fellow medical students can be a great way to find out more about the plans and debate their relative merits.

The AMSA scorecard on the candidate's plans is a great place to start your discussion. Find it on the AMSA website at http://www.amsa.org/election/scorecard.cfm

Questions to consider as you think about each candidate's plan:

1) How does a private health insurance system work? What are the fundamental failings of such a system, and how might they be corrected with market incentives or industry regulation? What other models for health insurance exist, and would it be feasible to use these in America?

2) Is health care a right? Do Americans have to choose between equality, efficacy, and efficiency in our health care system, or is there a way to get all three? Do the plans of either candidates offer substantial progress towards achieving this goal?

3) Under McCain's Plan: What are the advantages to buying health insurance on an open market, across state lines? What are the disadvantages? How might this affect the system as a whole?

4) Under Obama's Plan: Will healthy individuals purchase health insurance without mandates, or will they "free-ride" the system until they get sick, knowing they will not be denied coverage due to a pre-existing condition? What are the advantages and disadvantages to requiring mandates?

5) What do the two plans have in common? Where are the areas of greatest disparity?

6) Imagine you are running for president. How would your own health care platform differ from that of Senators Obama or McCain? How might your opponent criticize your plan, and how would you frame your argument to defend your plan to the American people?

Don't forget to vote!
...and as always, here's to your health!