Diabetes and the 2008 Presidential Election
By Daniel Trecroci
The presidential election is only weeks away, and most people know by now where the candidates stand on hot-button issues such as abortion, the death penalty and the war in Iraq. As a result of the candidates' positions on these issues, many people have already made up their mind about who will receive their vote. But what if you have diabetes or a loved one with diabetes? Where do the candidates stand on issues specific to finding a type 1 cure or curbing the out-of-control type 2 epidemic?
The Voting Record
Unlike abortion, the death penalty, or the war in Iraq, diabetes is not a "sexy" voter issue. Every now and then, the candidates are given the opportunity to vote on diabetes-specific issues that reach the Senate floor, but for the most part, those types of bills are few and far between. To find specifics about what the candidates would do for diabetes if elected president or vice president, you have to look at their voting records on health issues that are not diabetes specific. For example, between May 7, 2007 and July 31, 2008, there were 25 "health-specific" bills that made it to the Senate floor for a vote. Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama voted on five of these, (1) while his running mate Joseph Biden of Delaware voted on 16. John McCain, the Republican presidential nominee, voted on three of them. (2) During this time frame, there were only two health bills on which all three voted. One was House Resolution 976 — the "State Children's Health Insurance Program Reauthorization." This was a bill that passed the Senate by a vote of 68-31 allowing for the appropriation of $9.13 billion for fiscal year 2008; $10.68 billion for fiscal year 2009; $11.85 billion for fiscal year 2010, and $13.75 billion for fiscal year 2011 for the Children's Health Insurance Program. Senators Obama and Biden voted for the bill, while Senator McCain voted against it (3)
The other bill that all three voted on was Senate Amendment 4233 — "Codifying the Definition of a Child Eligible for State Children's Health Insurance Program Reauthorization." This was a vote to adopt an amendment that would define a "targeted low-income child" who is eligible for child health assistance under the State Children's Health Insurance Program as "an individual under age 19, including the period from conception to birth." The amendment was rejected by the Senate by a vote of 46-52. Senators Obama and Biden voted against the amendment, while Senator McCain voted for it. (4)
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