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Presidential Hopefuls Debate Healthcare in SF

Five Democratic presidential candidates vow to make health care less expensive and more accessible for all Americans. But they disagree on how they would pay to fix one of the nation´s most vexing social and economic problems.

The White House hopefuls were participating in a forum yesterday sponsored by the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union in San Francisco. They all said that if elected, they would work to give the federal government a more prominent role in providing health coverage and regulating medical costs.

Three candidates: Missouri Congressman Dick Gephardt, Massachusetts Senator John Kerry and former Vermont Governor Howard Dean said they would use tax incentives, as well as expanded public programs, to insure more people.

Ohio Congressman Dennis Kucinich and former Ambassador Carol Mosley Braun pledged to do away with private health care entirely and replace it with a nationalized single-payer system similar to Canada´s.