By Robert Bazell Chief science and health correspondent
NBC News
updated 9/26/2008 4:07:52 PM ET 2008-09-26T20:07:52

Despite the massive troubles of Wall Street and the economy, health care reform remains one of the critical issues of the presidential campaign. It is an area where the two candidates, Democratic nominee Barack Obama and Republican John McCain, have starkly different visions .

On Wednesday, in an effort to help voters understand the differences, the New England Journal of Medicine is offering a critique of Obama's plan by health policy expert Joseph Antos of the American Enterprise Institute, the conservative think tank, and a critique of McCain's plan by David Blumenthal, director or of the generally liberal Health Policy Institute at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston. 

More importantly, the journal has produced a video of a debate between McCain's chief health policy adviser Gail Wilensky and David Cutler, a Harvard economist who helped put together the Obama plan. These position papers and the video are remarkable for their clarity on this complex issue and for their civility. I would urge anyone who cares about these vitally important issues to read and watch.

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