Politics & Government

Healthcare overhaul: How McCain and Obama differ

Scott McNeil, a junior at the University of Miami, takes chemotherapy to battle brain cancer. ''It's working, but it's really tiring.'' He'd like to take a semester off, but he can't, because the only reason he has health insurance is that he's included on his mother's policy as a full-time student. ``I just hope I don't get really sick.''

''What we need in this country is quality health insurance,'' says McNeil, 20. ``And it needs to be accessible to all equally . . . and it needs to be affordable.''

But how do you pay for that? That's where the arguments get nasty, although a consensus seems to be building among experts -- everyone from the head of the nation's most powerful business group to the leader of a major labor union -- for a radical solution. (More on that later.)

Now, as the campaign moves into its final chapter, the nation's financial crisis continues to dominate the news, but surveys show that healthcare remains very much on voters' minds.

Asking what were the two most important issues for the government to address, a Harris Poll in late September found that healthcare reform ranked No. 2, after only the economy and ahead of the Iraq War and gasoline prices.

A Commonwealth Fund survey in August found that one-third wanted a complete rebuilding of the healthcare system and another half thought it ``required fundamental changes.''

That's powerful ammunition for change, but what change? Experts question the viability of the healthcare proposals of both presidential candidates, Democrat Barack Obama and Republican John McCain -- proposals that are radically different.

Read the complete story at miamiherald.com