Martinez speaks on health care at Moffitt
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02/20/08 Seán Kinane
WMNF Drive-Time News Wednesday | Listen to this entire show:

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Republican Sen. Mel Martinez discussed federal health care issues today at the Moffitt Cancer Center on the Tampa campus of the University of South Florida. Martinez said the issue of Floridians without access to health care hit home when he was mayor of Orange County.

He helped open neighborhood health clinics in there. Martinez said health care is an important issue for the future of the country.

The United States spends more money on health care per capita than any other country, but according to a report by the World Health Organization in 2000, the country is ranked behind 36 others in overall quality of healthcare. Many of those other countries have universal single-payer healthcare.

But Martinez opposes single-payer because he said it would be government-run health care. Instead, he wants to give a government subsidy to people who can’t afford health insurance so they can purchase it from a private company.

“…My choice would be that we encourage more and more Americans to become insured and help them to become insured.”

Martinez said that some problems can’t be solved just by adding more money, but that the nursing shortage is not one of them.

But not everyone in the audience was impressed. Patrick Cannon is the co-chair of the Tampa Bay O-Train, the group supporting Barack Obama for president. He submitted a written question about why it is taking so long to get health care reform, but the question wasn’t presented to Martinez.

Photo credit: Seán Kinane / WMNF

Learn more:

World Health Organization report

World Health Organization report summary

Physicians for a National Health Program

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