Healing The Nation: The Candidates' Health Care Plans

Rock the Vote breaks down the presidential contenders' proposals.

In their ongoing efforts to encourage young Americans to vote, Rock the Vote hit the streets with a new handout designed to help potential voters compare the presidential candidates' health care plans. The handout was developed jointly by New Hampshire for Health Care and Rock the Vote.

"Young people care about the same issues as everyone else," Rock the Vote Political Director Hans Riemer said, "and by educating them on the issues, we believe they will be more likely to vote."

Below is a summary of the candidates' health care proposals excerpted from the handout:

George W. Bush
Under his plan, individuals may save their own money for medical expenses in tax-deductible accounts. Tax credits would help low- and moderate-income people buy insurance.

  • Overall coverage increase: 6 million
  • Youth coverage increase: Unavailable; expresses support for strengthening the Child Health Insurance Program
  • Annual cost: $14 billion

Wesley Clark
His proposal requires parents to obtain health insurance for all dependents under 21. Low-income adults would get free access through existing government programs, and a new national insurance plan would make coverage available to individuals at more affordable rates.

  • Overall coverage increase: 32 million
  • Youth coverage increase: 13.1 million children and young adults through age 20
  • Annual cost: $77 billion

Howard Dean
Dean's plan would expand existing public programs to cover most people under age 25. It requires employers to cover dependents up to age 25, and a new national insurance plan would make coverage available to individuals at more affordable rates.

  • Overall coverage increase: 30 million
  • Youth coverage increase: 12.7 million low- and moderate-income children and young adults through age 24
  • Annual cost: $93 billion

John Edwards
He'd require parents to obtain health insurance for all dependents under age 21, with subsidies for low-income families. Tax credits and expanded programs would provide free or subsidized coverage, and private insurance plans would have to offer insurance for dependents up to 25 years old.

  • Overall coverage increase: 22 million
  • Youth coverage increase: 11.7 million children and young adults through age 20
  • Annual cost: $59 billion

John Kerry
His proposal would reduce the cost of private health insurance premiums by 10 percent. A new national insurance plan would make coverage available to individuals at more affordable rates, and coverage for children would be increased.

  • Overall coverage increase: 27 million
  • Youth coverage increase: 7.5 million low- and moderate-income children through age 18
  • Annual cost: $90 billion

Dennis Kucinich
He wants to cover everyone by expanding Medicare to the entire population.

  • Overall coverage increase: 41 million
  • Youth coverage increase: universal coverage
  • Annual cost: $1 trillion

Joe Lieberman
His plan would create a new insurance plan, MediKids, to cover most people under age 25. A new national insurance plan would make coverage available to individuals at more affordable rates.

  • Overall coverage increase: 32 million
  • Youth coverage increase: 13.7 million low- and moderate-income children and young adults through age 24
  • Annual Cost: $75 billion

Al Sharpton
No plan details are available, but he supports a constitutional amendment guaranteeing health coverage as a right.