Both John Kerry and George Bush have proposed solutions to solve this problem and provide some kind of medical coverage for the missing forty-two million, but the two proposals differ radically in both philosophy and scope. Here's an excellent webpage (imo) that compares the two plans in a nonpartisan way:
Candidates Offer Very Different Health Care Plans
And here are some quotes (but you really should read the whole article to get a sense of the big picture):
In the past four years, spending on prescription drugs has tripled and the cost of health care premiums has spiked 40 percent. In response to these changes, Bush recently held several televised meetings in which he promoted Health Savings Accounts that are already available to voters.
Bush's Health Savings Accounts allow policyholders to pay for medical expenses directly and save any money they don't use in a tax-free account earmarked for healthcare costs in the future. The accounts resemble Individual Retirement Accounts in that they allow people to plan for the future at no tax penalty today. Available since January 2004, Health Savings Accounts are now taxed when they are purchased. To make these plans more affordable, Bush proposes removing these taxes and making premiums paid through the accounts tax-deductible. The accounts can serve as primary health coverage, or help people fill gaps in their employer-sponsored coverage. If an individual does not have insurance through a job--or if an employer's plan doesn't pay for expenses such as out-of-network doctors or diagnostic tests--the accounts can be used to help cover costs.
Bush also proposes a tax credit that would help uninsured Americans purchase private health insurance. Under Bush's plan, individuals earning $30,000 or less would get $1,000 back in taxes every year and be able to use this money to buy insurance. Families earning $60,000 or less would get $3,000 back in taxes and use this money for family coverage.
In addition, Bush proposes expanding prescription drug coverage offered by Medicare (55 percent of those covered by this federal health program for the elderly are female) and creating 1,200 new public health centers.
Kerry proposes expanding both Medicaid (a federal program that insures low-income Americans--) and SCHIPs (state children's health insurance programs). By bolstering these programs with more tax dollars, Kerry hopes to cover all uninsured children in households earning up to $55,000 and all parents in households earning up to $37,000.
Currently, 9 percent of Americans (50 million people) are insured through Medicaid or SCHIP programs. Of the adults covered by Medicaid, 70 percent are female. An additional 14 million qualify but have not yet enrolled. Kerry hopes to register them by automatically enrolling children when they enter public school or when they visit public health clinics.
To help more Americans gain coverage, Kerry would allow individuals to buy into federal employee health benefits. During his recent health care tour, he pledged to cut insurance costs by 10 percent for both individuals and families.
Kerry also hopes to make health coverage more affordable for businesses to provide to employees. According to a 2003 survey by The Kaiser Family Foundation, rising medical costs are forcing many employers to cut back on the coverage they offer. Under Kerry's plan, the government would help employers by absorbing most of employees' catastrophic health care costs. Small employers would receive a tax credit of up to 50 percent of the cost of health premiums for low to middle-income workers. Small businesses would also be able to participate in the insurance program now offered to members of Congress.
Kaiser Family Foundation--
"Side-by-Side Summary of Presidential Candidates' Proposals for Expanding Health Insurance Coverage" (Adobe PDF format):
John Kerry for President--
"Affordable Health Care for Every American":
George Bush for President--
"Health Care: Issue Brief":
So what do you think?