The race for the White House

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Each week between now and the November election, Woman to Woman Voter Campaign will appear in Blount Today and on the League of Women Voters and American Association of University Women websites. The election project is a joint endeavor of the League of Women Voters, the AAUW and Blount Today and strives to offer a comparison of the views of the two presidential candidates on issues of importance to Blount County. Blount Today is happy to provide editorial space in order to encourage people to vote in November and to be an informed electorate.

Issue: Health Care

Why should we care about health care? Because of the rising costs of health care; because there are millions of citizens with no health care insurance, resulting in less preventive medicine as well as more costly emergency room visits; because of the rising costs of prescription drugs; and because of serious health problems among Iraq war returnees.

Senator Obama

• Would create a new national health plan allowing persons with no health care insurance to buy affordable (subsidized) insurance with guaranteed eligibility--mandatory only for children

• Advocates affordable premiums, comprehensive coverage, easy enrollment and simplified paperwork; would address disparities in access to health coverage

• Would keep federal health care promises to aging veterans

• Would work to increase the use of generic drugs

• Would allow U.S. citizens to buy prescription drugs outside the country if safe and less costly than in the U.S.

• Would promote preventive care and address management of chronic disease

• Advocates reform to prevent insurers from overcharging for malpractice insurance

• To reduce cost would increase use of information technology

• Would work for more choice in long-term care, not biased toward institutional care

• Supports greater funding for AIDS research and prevention;

• Supports requirement that employers who do not provide health coverage for employees pay into the national health insurance program

• Would allow individuals below age 25 to be covered through their parents’ plan.

Senator McCain

• Opposes federally mandated health care but would make state-administered insurance coverage available to low-income persons

• Would provide a variety of insurance choices; advocates walk-in clinics in retail outlets and community health centers to increase access to health care

• Would keep federal health care promises to aging veterans

• Advocates faster introduction of generic drugs

• Voted for allowing importation of prescription drugs from Canada

• Supports public health programs to reduce incidence of obesity and diabetes, with emphasis on prevention of chronic disease

• Advocates reform of medical malpractice insurance; advocates limits on malpractice settlements

• To reduce cost would increase use of information technology

• Favors tax-free medical savings accounts and health care dividends

• Advocates tax credits to individuals and small businesses to offset the cost of health insurance coverage

• Would encourage small businesses to band together to negotiate lower rates with health care providers

Sources and further information:

The Issue: Immigration

Why should we care about immigration? There is the perceived loss of US jobs to immigrants, legal or illegal, who are willing to work for low wages; there is a need for immigrant labor in some farming operations; there is disagreement regarding granting eligibility for participation in Social Security and other social programs and concerning establishment of a pathway to legal residence and citizenship.

Senator Obama

• Supported Bush-backed immigration reform legislation, which would have improved border security and enforcement of existing laws and provided a path to citizenship for some illegal immigrants

• Voted for allowing illegal aliens to participate in social programs including Social Security

• Would crack down on employers who hire undocumented workers but advocates a means for employers to verify employees' eligibility to work in U.S.

• Voted for establishment of a "guest worker" program

• Voted against making English the official language of the U.S. government

• Voted for the Secure Fence Act of 2006, which authorized construction of a fence along the U.S.-Mexico border

• Supports a system that allows undocumented immigrants who are in good standing to pay a fine, learn English, not violate the law, and go to the back of the line for the opportunity to become citizens.

• Believes the legal limit on immigrants should be increased to keep families together and provide workers for jobs.

Senator McCain

• Voted for the use of force against Iraq

• Supported troop surge in 2007; considers the commitment of troops to be necessary for completion of the mission

• Supported Bush veto of a war spending bill that would have withdrawn most U.S. troops by March 2008

• Would withdraw troops gradually as Iraqi forces are trained and equipped; is against a timetable for withdrawal

• Believes the US could be in Iraq many years but predicts that combat troops will be out by 2013

• Voted against investigation of contract awards in Iraq and Afghanistan

• Believes strategy in Iraq should involve limiting the influence of Iran, in addition to assuring freedom and stability in Iraq.

Sources and further information:

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