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
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.
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of the people, tax cuts for the richest should be repealed.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.
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
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(Above link no longer active as of 2/23/05.)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
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.
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
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: http://www.eac.gov/voter_resources/register_to_vote.aspx )
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
3443 Guilford Terrace
Baltimore, MD 21218 USA