With health-care reform being hotly debated in Congress, both Democratic candidates vying for the Senate seat that George Voinovich will vacate after next year’s elections released statements outlining their thoughts on what needs to be done to give people access to health care that won’t break their budgets. The plans supported by Ohio Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner and Lieutenant Governor Lee Fisher were similar: Both support a strong, affordable public option — as do 76 percent of Americans, according to an NBC/Wall Street Journal poll released this week.
Said Fisher in an open letter to U.S. Senators Max Baucus, Ted Kennedy, Chuck Grassley and Mike Enzi, the key leaders in writing the health-reform plan, “A public health insurance option should be one of the choices available, and should compete alongside private insurers, holding them accountable, providing families more choices and helping them hold down overall health care costs.”
“All Americans must have access to quality, cost-effective health care, and this should be the guiding principle of any federal legislation,” said Brunner. “Let Americans keep the health insurance they have if they like it, but let’s use the public option as a way to make health care available to all Americans while making it easier to account for how health care money is spent.”
Meanwhile, Republican Senate candidate Rob Portman has failed to follow up his admission of a few weeks ago that the Republicans have no plan — with an actual plan. But his dismal 12 percent rating from the American Public Health Association on his votes during his 1993-2005 tenure in Congress is probably a good indication of how much we should expect from him. — Anastasia Pantsios