Web site charts candidates' healthcare views

March 31, 2008 8:39:14 PM PDT
There's a new Web site that makes it easier to see where the candidates stand on health care. You can chart your own position as well, which may help you decide whom to vote for this fall.

We have seen Wec sites like this before, where you are asked a series of questions, and your position is ranked based on your answers. What's new about this website is how it illustrates the differences and the similarities between John McCain, Hillary Clinton, and Barack Obama.

On the HealthCentral Web site, click on healthcare reform, or the uninsured, or drug prices and you can see where each candidate is ranked based on how important they think that issue i,s and whether they support a free market or a government sponsored program.

John McNellisa, a real estate developer from Palo Alto, is supporting Obama. We asked him to take the Health Central's survey and chart his own position compared to Obama.

"Looks like we're to the left of Obama and Clinton. Uh Oh," says McNellisa.

Bill Allman is HealthCentral's chief content officer and general manager.

"We are all about giving patients a voice so we came up with this idea of people instead of punditry," says Allman.

Allman says his website is getting 10,000 hits a day.

There are other's that we've found that have more detail on the candidates position like the sposored by the Kaiser Family Foundation. At Stanford University, economist Alain Enthoven, former Chairman of the Health Benefits Advisory Council for the state employees health care plans, says a lot of the surveys are missing the central point.

"I think the fundamental question is the rising costs," says Enthoven.

Professor Enthoven admits he likes John McCains proposal more than Barack Obama's or Hillary Clinton's, but that all the candidates' proposals need to focus more on how they are going to pay for it.

"You might be able to get the money this year, but next year, year after year, it's going up faster, and to make this thing meaningful, you got to have a solution to that," says Enthoven.

John McNellis says he may be left of Obama and Clinton on health care reform, but agrees with Enthoven on the cost factor.

"What I would like is for somebody to balance the budget and I dont think any candidate is going to do that and I think that's really the problem we have here."

Professor Einthoven headed the state's task force on health care under Governor Pete Wilson. He holds degrees in economics from Stanford, Oxford and MIT, and is one of the leading experts in the country. I asked him what he thinks the chances are, that four years from now, we'll have something like the universal health care plans the candidates are proposing -- he's not optimistic.

LINKS: This site allows visitors to chart their views on the healthcare issues and compare them with where the candidates stand.

The second site is from Kaiser Family Foundation