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Wesley Clark on Health Care

NATO General; Democratic Candidate for President


Stop giving a handout to the HMOs

Q: Would you tear up the prescription drug Medicare benefit bill and start all over again?

A: To do it right, you've got to bargain competitively with the pharmaceutical companies and lower the prices. You've got to stop giving a handout to the HMOs. You've got to take Medicare out of competition with the HMOs. And you've got to close the donut hole. I think with the right leadership in Washington, we can fix this Medicare prescription benefit for our seniors.

Source: Democratic 2004 primary Debate in Greenville SC Jan 29, 2004

Take the existing system and make it better

Q: Would you seriously examine a single-payer system that would allow people to opt out of it if they have the kind of money that would permit them to do that and buy private insurance plans?

A: First, we're going to insure all children. That will be mandated, and we'll help the parents if they can't afford it. Second, we're going to get all adults access to insurance, and we're going to help low- and moderate-income families to buy that insurance. Third, we're going to really do cost containment.

Source: Democratic 2004 primary Debate in Greenville SC Jan 29, 2004

Bush's Rx plan helps HMOs-help seniors instead

Q: How, if at all, would you change the new prescription drug benefit for the elderly?

A: Unfortunately, the bill signed by President Bush does too little for America's seniors and too much to reward HMOs and large drug companies. We ought to give the government the power to negotiate with drug companies through the free market to get bulk discounts on popular drugs. We need to do more to reduce barriers to low-cost generic drugs entering the market and prevent drug companies from exploiting legal loopholes to keep them out. And we need to allow seniors to import safe, low-cost prescription drugs from Canada. Most importantly, I want to see a real drug bill that strengthens Medicare instead of undermining it by forcing seniors into HMOs.

Source: Associated Press policy Q&A, "Medicare" Jan 25, 2004

Insure children & make all coverage more affordable

My health care plan would make insurance for everyone more affordable, and help families provide their children, up to age 22, with high quality coverage.
Source: Campaign website, Clark04.com Nov 20, 2003

Build on existing programs and stretch them

Q: What would you do to improve the health care situation?

CLARK: We have to recognize we are in a health care crisis. We've got 41 million Americans uninsured, we've got more dropping out of their insurance programs as they lose their jobs. Even the people who have health insurance today are insecure about keeping it.

I don't have a complete package of health care proposals [yet], but here's what I would do. We need to take the existing programs, we need to build on the existing programs, we need to take the states' child health insurance program an stretch it. We need to raise the limits on Medicaid. We need to look at the 55 to 65 age group and help them. And we need to look at the substance that's in those proposals. So we'll come out with our health proposal. We'll move it that way.

Source: Debate at Pace University in Lower Manhattan Sep 25, 2003

Comprehensive preventive wellness program

We should be doing much more with preventive and diagnostic care. We need a comprehensive preventive medicine program for this country. We call it executive fitness in the Army. It's an executive wellness program. Why isn't it an American wellness program?
Source: Debate at Pace University in Lower Manhattan Sep 25, 2003

Does not support single-payer healthcare

When an audience member shouted out "single payer!" Clark made it clear he would not advocate that form of health care system.
Source: Johanna Weiss, Boston Globe, p. A3 Sep 20, 2003

Supports universal health coverage

Clark said he supports universal health coverage that includes preventive care.
Source: Jim VandeHei, Washington Post, p. A5 Sep 19, 2003

Promote good health through public health measures

[My framework of 30-year challenges includes] promoting physical vigor and good health through public health measures, improved diagnostics, preventive health, and continuing health care to extend longevity and productivity to our natural limits. All Americans are better off when we ensure that each American will have access to the diagnostic, preventive and acute health care and medicines needed for productive life.
Source: Campaign website, AmericansForClark.com, "100 Year Vision" Sep 18, 2003

Healthcare safety net works in the army

I grew up in an armed forces that treated everyone as a valued member of the team. Everyone got healthcare, and the army cared about the education of everyone's family members. It wasn't the attitude that you find in some places, where people are fending for themselves and the safety net doesn't work.
Source: Waging Modern War, by Wesley Clark Jul 15, 2001

Other candidates on Health Care: Wesley Clark on other issues:
George W. Bush
Dick Cheney
John Edwards
John Kerry

Third Party Candidates:
Michael Baradnik
Peter Camejo
David Cobb
Ralph Nader
Michael Peroutka

Democratic Primaries:
Carol Moseley Braun
Wesley Clark
Howard Dean
Dick Gephardt
Bob Graham
Dennis Kucinich
Joe Lieberman
Al Sharpton
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Adv: Avi Green for State Rep Middlesex 26, Somerville & Cambridge Massachusetts