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Health and the election

BMJ 2012; 345 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.e7328 (Published 31 October 2012) Cite this as: BMJ 2012;345:e7328
  1. Edward Davies, US news and features editor
  1. edavies{at}bmj.com

With election season now entering the home straight, healthcare has, unsurprisingly, featured heavily in the campaigns of both US presidential candidates.

In their final televised debate last week, Mitt Romney even managed to shoehorn his pledge to repeal “Obamacare” into an exchange about military spending (doi:10.1136/bmj.e7198), saying he would get it out on “day one” rather than cut spending on the armed forces.

This statement echoed his pledges from the two previous debates, which also covered contraception, government spending on health, and the ever present theme of Medicare “vouchers” (doi:10.1136/bmj.e7112, doi:10.1136/bmj.e7112).

Amid the noise and heat of these presidential debates were myriad claims and counter claims about what the two candidates could do or had done, and large numbers were thrown around with little point of reference.

That’s why we’ve also published a feature looking at some of the facts behind the claims being made—is President Obama really cutting $716bn from Medicare to finance his health reform law? If the affordable care act is repealed, will 50 million people lose their health insurance? (doi:10.1136/bmj.e7112).

Healthcare is just one part of the jigsaw puzzle in this election, and it hasn’t received the coverage that the economy, defense strategy, or even Romney’s now infamous “binders of women” comment have (www.cnn.com/2012/10/18/politics/campaign-women/index.html). But the different candidates represent very different ways forward for the nation’s healthcare system, with everything from the funding of Medicaid to the entire affordable care act now at stake.


Cite this as: BMJ 2012;345:e7328


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