Podcast Analyzes Presidential Candidates' Health Care Proposals

Physical Therapist Leaders Provide Analysis of Presidential Candidates' Health Care Proposals 

ALEXANDRIA, VA, October 30, 2008 — As Americans head to the polls to cast their votes in the Presidential election, health care is a top priority; approximately one in three Americans report having trouble paying their medical bills thanks to the economic crisis and a shortage of adequate, affordable health insurance.1 Physical Therapy (PTJ), the scientific journal of the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA), offers a two-part podcast summary and analysis of the health care proposals of presidential candidates Senator Barack Obama and Senator John McCain by physical therapist researchers Anthony Delitto, PT, PhD, FAPTA, and Alan Jette, PT, PhD, FAPTA, and physical therapist Justin Moore, PT, DPT, APTA Director of Federal Government Affairs. The podcast also features a discussion on disability research needs in the United States. Each of the two-part podcasts is 20 minutes in duration and is available on the PTJ Web site.

In part 1, the experts discuss how the health care plans of each candidate address access, quality of care, and cost, including the ways in which both candidates plan to shift away from the current procedure-based model to one that emphasizes cost-containment and rewards quality and efficiency. The podcast also provides discussion on how the plans will address people with pre-existing conditions, such as the chronically ill and those with disabilities.

The second podcast focuses in part on the dramatic underfunding of disability research. NIH, for example, currently receives $300 million, a relatively small slice of a $29 billion budget. According to the experts, "this is significantly out of synch with the needs of society."

Factors affecting the direction of disability research, which include the role of environmental factors; development of interventions that facilitate individuals' participation in society; decreasing secondary conditions; improving assistive technology; and risk adjustment models, are also points of focus.

Jette, who chaired the 2007 Institute of Medicine study, The Future of Disability in America, states "Our report found that the disability research enterprise at the federal level is underfunded, fragmented with multiple agencies, and poorly coordinated with no one agency maintaining a disability research database...there is no federal definition that constitutes disability research, which makes making assessments challenging."

The participants went on to say that the report served as a major motivator for more than 30 advocacy groups to come together and make a unified case for the next President to focus on disability and rehabilitation research.

The complete podcasts are available at: http://ptjournal.apta.org/site/misc/podcasts.xhtml.

PTJ and APTA do not endorse, support, or take a position on the candidates or their health care platforms. This podcast discussion is intended to help listeners make an informed decision as they cast their ballots on November 4.

PTJ is the official publication of the APTA and is an international, scholarly, peer-reviewed journal. PTJ serves APTA members, other health care professionals, and patients/clients by documenting basic and applied knowledge related to physical therapy, providing evidence to guide clinical decision making, and publishing a variety of research that is relevant to the field and diverse opinions that are based in scholarly arguments. PTJ, similar to the profession it serves, strives to enhance the function, health, and well-being of all members of society. For more information, visit www.ptjournal.org.

Physical therapists are highly-educated, licensed health care professionals who can help patients reduce pain and improve or restore mobility—without expensive surgery or the side effects of medications. APTA represents more than 70,000 physical therapists, physical therapist assistants, and students of physical therapy nationwide. Its purpose is to improve the health and quality of life of individuals through the advancement of physical therapist practice. Learn more about conditions physical therapists can treat at www.apta.org/consumer, and find a physical therapist in your area at www.findapt.us.


1 Kaiser Family Foundation. Kaiser health tracking poll: election 2008 -- October 2008. Available at http://www.kff.org/kaiserpolls/h08_posr102108pkg.cfm. Accessed October 29, 2008.

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