Pizza and Politics: Election Series Looks at Health Care Policy
Web Editor - Published: October 16, 2008

On Tuesday, October 14th, the Pizza and Politics series looked at the health care policies of Presidential candidates Barack Obama and John McCain. Students, faculty, and staff congregated in the student lounge for an informative discussion led by Associate Dean Susan Goldberg and Professor Andrew Fichter.

Associate Dean Goldberg opened with a look at the state of health care in the United States, noting that some 47 million Americans have no health care coverage, adding that despite the fact that the United States spends more money on health care than any other nation, the World Health Organization only rated the country 37th in overall health care performance in a 2000 report. Professor Fichter followed with a look at the health care proposals of both candidates, first discussing McCain’s plan to offer tax credits and deregulate health care providers in the hope that market forces would drive costs down. He then discussed Obama’s plan to expand the current employer-based system by enforcing a “play or pay mandate” on employers that would force them to provide insurance or pay into a government fund.

To open the discussion to student participation, Associate Dean Goldberg echoed moderator Tom Brokaw’s question from the second presidential debate, asking the audience whether they considered health care a right, a privilege, or an obligation. The discussion touched on the potential outcomes of each candidate’s policies, examining what the expected costs of the respective plans would be as well as which plan would extend coverage to more currently uninsured people.

The final Pizza and Politics discussion will be on Monday, October 20th at 4 pm in the student lounge off of Main Street. Professors Jim May and David Hodas will lead a discussion about the environment and energy policy.

Pizza and Politics Series: