Townsend Letter The Examiner of Alternative Medicine
Alternative Medicine Conference Calendar
Check recent tables of contents


From the Townsend Letter for Doctors & Patients
October 2004

Web Page Potpourri:
Health Issues and the Election
by Marjorie Roswell
Search this site

A column devoted to informative integrative health resources on the Internet

Health is, of course, a major issue in the upcoming election. These resources will help you become more informed! The web sites below cover candidate endorsements and scorecards, voter registration, party platforms, candidate proposal comparisons, and general health policy. I also include some detail on a few specific campaign issues, namely the uninsured, Health Savings Accounts, stem cell research, and universal mental health screening.

I'd like your ideas for Web Page Potpourri. Which web resources do you find to be helpful?

Health Versus Wealth
Medical Class Warfare
Bush Health Proposals Would Increase Number of Uninsured, Column Says

Two columns by Paul Krugman, originally published in The New York Times, are a brief guide to overall differences between Bush and Kerry's health plans. (Krugman deems Kerry's plan to be far better.) Kerry's plan will extend health coverage to 26.7 million people, while Bush's will extend coverage to 2.1 million people. That's a close-to 13-fold difference, costing seven times as much. Important to note: Kerry's plan will be paid for by rescinding tax cuts for the close to 3% of the population with incomes above $200,000.

Responsible Wealth
United for a Fair Economy

Remarkably, a group of wealthy Americans agree that for the good of the people, tax cuts for the richest should be repealed. Responsible Wealth is a project of United for a Fair Economy.

Party Platforms

As this column goes to press, only the Democratic Party Platform is complete. Presumably, by the time you read this, the Republican Platform will also be available at the American Presidency Project website and on the Republican National Committee site. Take a few minutes to read the health sections.


Affordable Health Care for All
Making Health Care More Accessible and Affordable
Democratic Party Health Care
President Bush's Agenda for Improving Health Care

These are the candidate and party health issue web pages. While important, I generally find these to be less helpful than sites which offer critical review of the proposals.

Study Compares Bush/Kerry Health Plans

Professor Kenneth Thorpe of Emory University offers an analysis on the website of the American Academy of Family Physicians.

HSAs Won't Cure Medicare's Ills
Health Savings Accounts . . . More Snake Oil
(Above link no longer active as of 2/23/05.)

Two sites critiquing the Republican proposal of Health Savings Accounts

Stem Cell Information
Stem Cell Research

Stem cell research has become a campaign issue. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the Washington Post both have extensive web resources on the subject.

Bush Plans to Screen Whole US Population for Mental Illness
Mental health screening—six letters

I find this little-discussed issue to be extremely interesting. What are the ramifications of the Bush plan for universal screening for mental illness, along with Illinois' newly passed law requiring mental screening of all pregnant women and children? My favorite letter to the editor of The Illinois Leader was titled: Mental health bill is insane.

The Center for Responsive Politics (Open Secrets)

Are you curious about which candidates are being supported by the pharmaceutical industry or the tobacco industry? This is the place to find out.

Physicians for a National Health Plan

This physician-based organization is working toward a Single-Payer National Health Program. The site offers helpful fact sheets to help distinguish this approach from "socialized medicine" and to answer further questions. The site also includes downloadable slide shows, and the full text of related peer-reviewed literature. Consider endorsing their proposal. As one recent medical school graduate writes on the site, "Instead of expressing shock each time we hear that the number of uninsured has gone up another million people, we can actually do something about it." (The United States currently has 44 million uninsured people.)

Project Vote Smart

This is a non-partisan organization with a great website. I tend to use it for the comprehensive collection of interest group scorecard ratings. This will be especially helpful for House and Senate races. (Since presidents and governors don't vote, there are no scorecards rating George Bush) Here's an example of how these scorecards read on this site: "On the votes that the Pennsylvania League of Conservation Voters considered to be the most important in 2001–2002, Senator Schwartz voted their preferred position 100% of the time." This site also includes many other features, such as endorsements—including those for Bush and Kerry.

American Nurses Association Government Affairs Department

The American Nurses Association endorsed John Kerry for President. They've been making presidential endorsements since 1984. The endorsement is based on a questionnaire on nursing and health issues, personal interviews, and polling of their membership.

Heartland Institute PolicyBot

This site has a database of 13,000 policy documents. Know what you're getting when you use this industry-funded site. For instance in the Cancer and Pollution section the documents were overridingly dismissive, with report titles such as Animal Tests Overstate Cancer Fears, and The Environmental Cancer Epidemic that Never Was. The Smoking section offers fare such as Joe Camel Is Innocent!, and The Anti-Smoking Movement is Hazardous to Smoker's Health.

Kaiser Network

I trust this site, subtitled "Health policy as it happens." Services include webcasts of Congressional hearings and other important health-related meetings, daily reports which you can receive by email, and an extensive calendar of events. There is also a nice searchable archive of poll results to more than 60,000 questions on health issues. For election-related content, choose "Issue Spotlight" and then "Election 2004."

Urban Institute Health Policy Center

Look to this site for data-rich reports, such as Two-Thirds of Uninsured Children in Fair or Poor Health Are Hispanic and State Responses to 2004 Budget Crises: A Look at Ten States. Urban Institute congressional testimony is also available on the site.

Federal Election Commission
National Voter Registration Application Form
(Updated link: )

You may still be able to register to vote in November (and register others to vote) depending on when you are reading this. On page 33 of the National Voter Registration Application Form there is a list by state of voter registration deadlines. Don't worry: the form is not 33 pages long! The document simply provides detail on how to register in all 50 states, along with a single form that works in every state.

Marjorie Roswell is a web developer at a health policy organization in Baltimore.
3443 Guilford Terrace
Baltimore, MD 21218 USA
Phone: 410–467–3727


Subscriptions are available for Townsend Letter for Doctors & Patients,
the magazine, which is published 10 times each year.

Search our pre-2001 archives for further information. Older issues of the printed magazine are also indexed for your convenience.
1983-2001 indices ; recent indices

Once you find the magazines you'd like to order, please use our convenient form, e-mail, or call 360.385.6021 (PST).


Order back issues
Advertise with TLDP!
Visit our pre-2001 archives
© 1983-2005 Townsend Letter for Doctors & Patients
All rights reserved.
Web site by Sandy Hershelman Designs
August 29, 2012