Access: Criteria for Evaluating Reforms


These criteria can be used to evaluate proposals for health care reform. They include Universal Coverage, Expansion of public programs, Comprehensive Benefits, Affordable, Fair and stable financing, Controls costs, Quality – accessible, appropriate care, Strong public health system, Equitable – addresses disparities in health and health care.

The Center for Policy Analysis evaluated leading health care reform proposals by presidential candidates, and HR 676/Medicare for All, according to these Criteria.

The criteria draw from 4 organizations representing the public interest: Rekindling Reform, a New York coalition; Women LEAD for Health in California; the American Public Health Association; and Raising Women’s Voices, a coalition led by three national women’s health groups.

Criteria for Reform, and Problems Addressed


[See below for links to:  Obama vs. McCain plans; Women’s View; HR 676; More!]

The EQUAL Health Care project of the Center for Policy Analysis has evaluated health care reform proposals by presidential candidates Obama and McCain. The analysis uses the EQUAL Health Care Criteria for Health Care Reform. These criteria summarize a range of  basic principles for health care coverage and reform published by 4 organizations representing the public interest: Rekindling Reform, a New York-based coalition; Women LEAD for Health in California; the American Public Health Association; and Raising Women’s Voices, a coalition led by three women’s health groups. The plan features are based on information on the Obama and McCain websites, and other sources.  Ellen R. Shaffer, PhD MPH, Co-Director of the Center for Policy Analysis, is the principal author of this comparison, in collaboration with Deborah LeVeen, Professor Emerita, San Francisco State University.
The debates on health care reform will also be shaped by Congress. Companion analyses of HR 676 (Conyers) and other legislative proposals are posted here.


Compare candidates’ proposals Oct. 2008

Analysis of HR 676


Women and Health Reform Nov. 2009

CPA at Raising Women’s Voices, April, 2008:

Policy, Politics and Power:  How to Build and Pass the National Health Plan We Want
Dr. Ellen R. Shaffer says women can build towards universal affordable, quality health care in 2008. Newly mobilized voters support change.  In their first 100 days, the new President and Congress should commit to protecting and expanding Medicare and SCHIP.

RWV E. Shaffer Presentation 4-08:

Can We Change the Dems on Universal Health Care? Yes We Can!

Ellen R. Shaffer, PhD MPH  Feb. 5, 2008

So many misconceptions – so many months to set them straight.

It’s long past time to end the disgrace of an exorbitantly expensive health care system that leaves so many of us broke and broken.  Senators Clinton and Obama deserve credit for broaching this hot topic. But their cautious and complex proposals don’t tackle the heart of the problem: the predatory for-profit health insurance industry that drives up costs, excludes the sick, and too often fails to provide benefits even to people with insurance.  It’s like dumping ice cubes on melting Arctic glaciers instead of fixing the holes in the ozone.

Public financing is the only way to ensure that we truly cover everyone, collect from everyone fairly, and rein in health spending. It would spur the nation’s economic recovery and our personal security.

Those of us with a lot at stake and some clout to wield – women, communities of color, union members, employers – should ask candidates to show us realistic and practical first steps on the path to universal and affordable health care, and the grit to unite us against powerful opposition.

Can We Move the Dems 2-08

 CPA: Presidential Candidates Shed Light on Universal Access Debate

On  March 24, 2007, presidential candidates made it clear we have come a long way in the 15-year debates on universal access. Since the 1990s:

  • The failures of market-based approaches to expanding coverage are now well-known – though many candidates still propose them.
  • The problems are far worse.
  • The role of public health – income inequality, healthy life options – will be part of the debate.

As before, though, leadership by advocates and candidates will be crucial. Dr. Ellen R. Shaffer, Co-Director of the Center for Policy Analysis, commented:

“Are most presidential candidates proposing universal health care plans that can actually work?  Absolutely not.  But that’s why God gave us 11 months before the first primary….The challenge for the next year and a half for people who use and provide health care, as analysts and as advocates for social justice and public health, as women, communities of color -  generally all of us who are eager for something important to start heading the right way in our country for people – this is the year to marshal what we really know, and find out even more, about what works and what can work, to connect that with the political will that already exists, and find out how much farther we can go.”

See below for the summary and commentary.

Shaffer analysis 3-07

Click here to download NYT report 3-25-07

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