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More headlines: Al Gore on Health Care

(Following are older quotations. Click here for main quotations.)


Gore says Bush is siding with big drug companies

Narrator: “The issue: prescription drugs. George Bush’s approach leaves millions of seniors with no prescription drug coverage. None. And Bush forces seniors he does include to go to HMO’s and insurance companies for coverage. Al Gore is taking on the big drug companies to pass a real prescription drug benefit that covers all seniors. George Bush? Siding with the big drug companies. The Gore plan: fighting for our seniors.”
Source: DNC TV ad, “Siding” Aug 30, 2000

Competition, research, development will lower drug prices

“What we need is more competition to stimulate better and healthier business activities that stimulate more research and development and not just plow the profits into advertising and promotion. I favor a prescription drug benefit for seniors under the Medicare program and more competition to bring the price of prescription drug medications down.”
Source: John King interview, on CNN.com Aug 21, 2000

Women: more funding for breast cancer & contraceptives

Source: Press Release “Use Wealth to Improve Women’s Health” Jul 6, 2000

Base drug plan on people, not power

Gore took on drugmakers today, charging that they and their friends in the Republican Party are feigning concern over America’s retirees but are not actually interested in reducing drug costs. “The question is whether you’re for the people or whether you’re for the power,” Gore said. “The pharmaceutical companies are supporting my opponent. I have taken on the pharmaceutical companies for 25 years.”

The timing of Gore’s speech was not accidental. Last week, on party lines, the House passed a Republican bill that encourages insurance companies to offer prescription drug coverage to senior citizens. Gore and other Democrats prefer expanding the government-run Medicare program to include a drug benefit.

Gore’s proposal, first announced during the primaries, would pay half of prescription costs up to $5,000 and provide full coverage for seniors with annual incomes below $11,000. The Gore plan would cost $255 billion over 10 years, compared with $80 billion for the House version.

Source: Ceci Connolly, Washington Post, p. A6 Jul 4, 2000

Prescription drugs should be affordable for seniors

Al Gore today promoted his plan to add a prescription drug benefit to Medicare. The plan would pay half of prescription drug costs up to $5,000 with no deductible and offer discounts on prescriptions for all seniors and people with disabilities on Medicare. “I will lead the fight to give every senior a real, comprehensive prescription drug benefit under Medicare. We’ll put the power of medical science back in the medicine cabinets of our mothers and fathers. It’s the right thing to do.”
Source: Press Release, “Affordable Prescription Drugs” Jul 3, 2000

Cure for cancer is within reach

On calling for increased funding for cancer research and treatment: Imagine waking up and reading in the newspaper that not one single American had died from colon cancer or prostate cancer, not a single one. Imagine the day when a single blood test can detect every kind of cancer early enough to treat it & save a life.

I’m here to share the good news with America about what many of you already know: that hopeful day is within our reach and we are going to get there. We are going to get there together and stand on that summit together.

Like so many of you, when I hear the word ‘cancer,’ I see the faces of friends and neighbors and loved ones who have been stricken. I see people I’ve met across America who have battled back with unyielding courage and determination. When we say that the victory in this war is going to come from the heart and the spirit, we know that those who are giving the most heart and spirit are the survivors.

Source: Speech on cancer at Emory University in Atlanta Jun 1, 2000

Double cancer spending; more prevention & detection

Al Gore today announced new cancer-fighting initiatives to help improve research, prevention, detection and care for cancer. Gore’s new initiative would:
  • Propose a new “fast-track” Medicare coverage for prevention and detection.
  • Launch a new national initiative for early detection and treatment of colon cancer.
  • Ensure high quality care for every cancer patient and address the enormous disparities in cancer rates, particularly among racial and ethnic minorities.
  • Develop a new Quality Cancer Care Investment Fund to develop new ‘cancer care guidelines’ to assist health care professionals and patients in making the best treatment decisions.
  • Double progress in the fight against cancer by doubling investment in cancer research over the next five years.
  • Guarantee fair treatment for cancer patients [via] legislation opposing genetic discrimination and to protect medical privacy.
    Source: Press Release, “Cancer Free-America” Jun 1, 2000

    More funds for mental illness for kids, research, & homeless

    Gore’s comprehensive mental health initiative would address the challenges [of treating mental illness like any other illness] by:
  • Assuring full mental health coverage for children.
  • Ensuring no parent is forced to give up a child to get mental health services [via] the CHIPs program.
  • Improving mental health care and preventing violence in schools.
  • Supporting families with mental illness [via] the Family and Medical Leave Act.
  • Investing in community mental health services while ensuring accountability.
  • Reaching underserved populations, including the homeless.
  • Helping health professionals identify and treat people with mental illness.
  • Making new progress in understanding and treating mental illness [via] investing in quality biomedical research.
  • Strengthening protections against discrimination for patients with mental illness.
    Source: Press Release, “Help Families Cope With Mental Illness” May 31, 2000

    Pharmaceutical profits are ‘out of line’

    Al Gore blamed pharmaceutical companies yesterday for profits that are “way out of line” and plugged his own drug-payment plan. Gore put the drug companies at the center of his argument for expanding Medicare coverage to include prescription drugs. Profits are good for encouraging investors, Gore said, but drug companies are “going far beyond that. They’re going to the point that the margins are way out of line with what most other industries and most other lines of business believe is normal and adequate. They’re using the market power to dictate prices that are way above what competition would set them at.“

    Gore has proposed adding a Medicare prescription drug benefit and letting uninsured Americans 55 to 65 buy into Medicare coverage. His drug plan would offer free coverage for low-income recipients, catastrophic coverage for all and an optional cost-sharing benefit for others with premiums of $44 a month when phased in.

    Source: Associated Press in New York Times Apr 26, 2000

    Long history of fighting for generic drugs

    Quality generic drugs cost between 25% and 50% less than brand name drugs. Pharmaceutical companies seek to maximize profits by keeping generic drugs off the market.
      In the Senate, Gore was a leader in the fight for generics so that consumers could have access to quality drugs for more reasonable prices. He has also worked for reform at the FDA that has helped bring drugs to the market faster while maintaining quality.
    • In 1978, Gore led Congressional hearings into allegations that drug companies had put name-brand labels on generic drugs.
    • In 1981, he was a staunch critic of Reagan’s freezing approval of new generic drugs at the behest of the pharmaceutical industry.
    • In 1983, he cosponsored the Drug Price Competition and Patent Term Restoration Act to accelerate FDA drug-approval procedures for new generic drugs.
    • In 1986, he called on Reagan to provide Medicaid reimbursements for generic drugs as an incentive for pharmacists to use generic drugs instead of name brands.
    Source: Press Release Mar 31, 2000

    Could “never vote against” anti-smoking lobby

    [While working on the new cigarette warning labels in 1983, Gore told an anti-smoking lobbyist], “When push comes to shove, you will have me. I can’t in good conscience ever vote against you.” Gore took it upon himself to contact the Tobacco Institute, the industry’s lobbying arm, to ask whether there was room for compromise. It looked like there was. [A version of Gore’s bill passed in 1984.]

    Lobbyists had thought Gore was “a conventional pol from a tobacco state” who “could wax nostalgic about the patriotic glories of tobacco farming.“ Lobbyists never knew for certain what happened, how Gore had shifted from ”yes, if absolutely necessary“ into a self-appointed broker. Gore may have decided that the political benefits outweighed the risks back home, especially if the farmers were assured that their ability to grow tobacco and command a federally supported price would remain undisturbed. Lobbyists were not aware of Nancy Gore Hunger’s illness, Gore’s sister who was dying from lung cancer.

    Source: Inventing Al Gore, p.156-7 Mar 3, 2000

    Enable the disabled to work

    Q: What would you for disabled people who want to work and need to keep their federal health benefits?
    A: I proposed a new national program as part of my campaign called the disability to work program.we have millions of disabled Americans, 7 million, who want to get into the work force but can’t because they will lose their health benefits. Now we just passed the Jeffords Kennedy legislation to extend for seven years the health benefits and you won’t have to lose them if you go into the work force.
    Source: Democrat debate in Los Angeles Mar 1, 2000

    Drug companies block generic drugs & cheaper sales

    At a senior citizens’ center in Cleveland, Gore expounded on his vision of health policy and described the Clinton administration’s proposals to expand Medicare to cover prescription drugs. Many people in the audience said they went without drugs prescribed by their doctors because they could not afford them. Gore said that elderly people and animals often used the same drugs, but that veterinarians paid lower prices. “Why should the dog and the cat get cheaper medicines?” Gore asked. “Large pharmaceutical companies have a great deal of power in the marketplace and precious little competition. They use some of their wealth to block or delay the approval of generic versions of the medicines that could come in and compete with them.”
    Source: New York Times, p. A11 Feb 26, 2000

    FDA testing of medications for impact on children

    Q. Children represent more than a quarter of the population, but less than 12% of research funding awarded by the National Institutes of Health is devoted to research on children’s illnesses and conditions. What steps would you take to strengthen federal investment in pediatric research?
    A. I have supported large increases in bio-medical research that have contributed to important breakthroughs in a range of critical diseases. And I believe that, in the 21st Century, we have the potential to make critical progress in treating and curing diseases through our efforts to map the full range of human genomes. As President, I will continue to support these kinds of investments. I believe it is critical that these investments adequately examine the diseases and conditions that afflict children, who have many unique conditions and react differently to treatments. I strongly support provisions at the FDA that ensure medications are specifically tested for their impact on children.
    Source: National Association of Children’s Hospitals survey Jan 8, 2000

    The goal of universal health care will take time

    Q: Why, in a period of unprecedented surplus, haven’t you proposed anything that comes close to universal health coverage? A: I am committed to providing universal, high quality, affordable health care to every single American. I had a couple of events today with the greatest champion of universal health care in the US Senate, Ted Kennedy. I plan to stand & work with him in reaching high quality health care for all of our people. Both of us have proposed the same goal: high quality health care for all.
    Source: Democratic Debate in Durham, NH Jan 5, 2000

    Start with affordable health care for children

    It’s just unconscionable at a time when we have the strongest economy in history, we’re the wealthiest nation on earth, to have millions and millions of children who have no health care coverage at all. We ought to change that. And we ought to start by making a commitment to have affordable high-quality health care for every child in America before the end of the next president’s term. And we can do that within a balanced budget. Then we can go down the road toward coverage for every single American.
    Source: TV ad: “Affordable high-quality health care” Nov 10, 1999

    Treat mental health on parity with physical health

    Q: What are your views on the limitations of mental health benefits by managed care, and what would your plans be to address this issue? A: I strongly support a health care patients’ bill of rights, an HMO patients’ bill of rights. I support moving toward parity in the treatment for mental health as - in the same way as physical health. The availability of treatment for diabetes and the availability of treatment for depression or schizophrenia ought to be the same in my view.
    Source: Democrat Debate at Dartmouth College Oct 28, 1999

    Proposes network of family caregiving support centers

    I feel that it’s also important to provide child care. We need to expand high-quality accessible child care in this country. We ought to have after-school care in every community. And for families that are dealing with seniors with Alzheimer’s, I propose a national network of family caregiving support centers and a tax credit for those who are providing long-term care. It’s a terrible burden.
    Source: Democrat Debate at Dartmouth College Oct 28, 1999

    More restrictions on underage smoking

    Right now, tobacco hooks 3,000 American children every day -- and will lead 1,000 of them to an early death.
      That is why Al Gore has worked:
    • to make it harder for tobacco companies to advertise to kids
    • to make it illegal to sell tobacco to kids under eighteen
    • and to fight for legislation that will reduce teen smoking even further, while protecting America’s hard-working tobacco farmers.
    Source: (Cross-ref from Families & Children) www.AlGore2000.com/issu Jun 14, 1999

    Mental health care & disabled care for all who need it

    I promise you this: I’m going to make sure that Tipper wins her battle to bring high quality mental health care to every American family that needs it. I will fight for policies that honor the decency of your caring for an aging or disabled family member -- Tipper and I have learned first-hand, from caring for our own parents, how hard it can sometimes be. I’m going to make sure that Social Security and Medicare are never threatened, never weakened, never taken away.
    Source: Women for Gore speech, Washington DC Jun 1, 1999

    Tax credit for long-term care

    With the number of elderly Americans set to double by 2030, long-term care is perhaps the greatest unmet health care challenge facing today’s families. Gore is fighting for the administration’s proposed long-term care tax credit for the disabled and their caregivers.
    Source: www.AlGore2000.com/issues/health.html 5/14/99 May 14, 1999

    Tobacco is greatest threat to kids’ health

    There is no greater threat to the health and safety of our children than tobacco. Tobacco hooks 3,000 teens every day, and more than 1,000 will die from it. If our children don’t start smoking by the time they turn 19, they’re unlikely to start at all. The President’s anti-tobacco plan will reduce teen smoking by 42% over the next five years. I call on Congress to pass comprehensive, bipartisan anti-tobacco legislation -- and to do it now.
    Source: Speech to National PTA, “Protecting Our Children” Mar 23, 1998

    Require insurance coverage of experimental cancer trials

    Gore said yesterday he wanted to add a provision to the proposed “patients’ bill of rights” that would require insurance companies to cover experimental “clinical trials” in cancer treatment. “If somebody has cancer and they’re covered by insurance, and there is a clinical trial going on that the doctors believe is appropriate for the patient, it ought to be covered,” Gore said.

    While health plans have been increasingly willing to cover the cost to beneficiaries of clinical trials, they have resisted efforts to make coverage a requirement because of the potentially great costs.

    Gore also said he wanted to set aside funds to make specific information about cancer care more quickly available to doctors and hospitals. That information would come from the National Institutes of Health and the Library of Medicine. Federal funding for NIH research has increased enormously in recent years and has wide bipartisan support.

    Source: Mark Kaufman of the Washington Post, in Boston Globe, p. A7 May 29, 2000

    Families to 250% of poverty level eligible for Fed insurance

    Q. How do you propose insuring each and every child in America?
    A. By taking a number of steps to expand coverage and to make sure kids are signed up. First, I would expand eligibility for the Child Health Insurance Program to children of families up to 250% of the poverty level. Second, I would allow all other families to buy into the program voluntarily. We also need to do more to sign kids up for the program by taking steps like allowing mail-in applications and signing up kids in schools.
    Source: National Association of Children’s Hospitals survey Jan 8, 2000

    For kids: insurance; anti-tobacco; & patients’ rights

    Q. What would be the top three public health priorities to improve the health and safety of children?
    A. First, I would guarantee access to affordable, quality health insurance for every American child. Second, I would fight for legislation to help stop children before they start smoking. Right now, 3000 children start smoking every day; 1000 of these will die from tobacco-related disease. Third, I will continue our fight for a strong and enforceable patients’ bill of rights.
    Source: National Association of Children’s Hospitals survey Jan 8, 2000

    No neat & simple approach - must go step-by-step

    A witness to the Clinton health care reform effort, which crumbled in part because of its sweeping ambitions, Gore now sees wisdon in a more incremental approach. “There’s a reason there’s been no simple, neat, and correct answer to universal health coverage,” Gore said. “It takes time. We have to accomplish it on a step-by-step basis.”
    Source: Boston Globe, p. A1 Oct 5, 1999

    Focus on low-income families who lack insurance

    Gore promised to guarantee access to health insurance to all children and their parents in low-income families. His plan would focus exclusively on people who currently lack coverage, and would bring about few changes to existing public health programs for children and the poor.
    Source: Washington Post, pg. A1 Sep 29, 1999

    Incrementally fix lack of health care access

    Gore promised to ensure that all children have access to affordable health care by 2005. Gore would pursue the same incremental approach to changing health care that President Clinton adopted after his attempt to revamp the system failed in 1994. “We have all learned that we cannot overhaul the system in one fell swoop,” Gore said. “Experience has taught us that there is a way to keep what’s right, while fixing what is wrong with American health care.”
    Source: Scott Lindlaw, AP, in Boston Globe, p. A4 Sep 8, 1999

    Aims to insure 15 million uninsured

      Gore offered a broad package aimed at providing as many as 15 million uninsured Americans with health care, including:
    • Letting people with disabilities keep Medicare or Medicaid when they returned to the workplace.
    • Encouraging small business to band together to negotiate rates for their workers’ coverage by providing a 25% tax credit to the firms.
    • Pressing for a “real, enforceable” Patients’ Bill of Rights.
    Source: Scott Lindlaw, AP, in Boston Globe, p. A4 Sep 8, 1999

    Improve Medicare with prescription benefit, free screenings

      Gore’s “Crossroads” plan for Improving Medicare:
    • A voluntary, affordable prescription drug benefit that would cover all seniors and people with disabilities under Medicare;
    • A proposal to allow vulnerable 55-65 year olds to buy into Medicare;
    • A plan to ensure that seniors use the most up-to-date prevention tests - by eliminating co-payments and deductibles for many screening tests.
    Source: Medicare at a Crossroads, page 6 Sep 23, 2000

    Medicare is a success but faces future challenges

    It is undeniable that Medicare is a success story. However, the program faces unprecedented challenges. The number of elderly is rowing, and their life expectancy is lengthening. Gaps in coverage and new ways of delivering benefits are challenging Medicare to find new, cost-effective ways to deliver health care. How we respond to these challenges will reflect what kind of nation we are: one that takes care of its most vulnerable, or one that fails to live up to our profound responsibility to them.
    Source: Medicare at a Crossroads, page 16-18 Sep 23, 2000

    Cap senior prescription costs at $4,000 per year

    Healthcare comparedGore’s planBush’s plan
    Poor seniorsAll drug costs would be covered for those with incomes below $12,000 (single) or $14,000 (couple).All drug costs would be covered for those with incomes below $11,300 (single) or $15,200 (couple). Seniors with incomes below $14,600 (single) or $19,700 (couple) would get a partial subsidy of prescription drug premiums from the government. The lower one’s income, the higher the subsidy.
    All other seniorsHalf of drug costs, up to $5,000 a year, would be paid by the government. After that, seniors would have to pay out of pocket. Once the senior has paid a total of $4,000 for the year, the government would pick up all remaining drug costs. The government would pay for 25% of drug premiums. After a senior has paid $6,000 in a year, the government would pick up all remaining costs.
    Source: Boston Globe, p. A8 Sep 6, 2000

    It’s time to promise seniors a Medicare drug benefit

    Gore launched a health care tour centered on his plan to add prescription drug coverage to Medicare. “People on fixed incomes are having an extremely difficult time paying for medicine. I believe it is time to say to every senior in this country, we have come to the point where we have improved Medicare enough to give a prescription drug benefit to everyone.” Gore said the pharmaceutical industry feared a Medicare drug benefit because they would be forced to reveal the true costs of their medicines.
    Source: Story Posted on CNN.com Aug 28, 2000

    Bush policies leave Texas with large Medicaid deficits

    Al Gore today met with families and health care professionals to discuss problems with Texas health care. Bush has prioritized large tax cuts over improvements in his home state’s health care system. Now, Texas faces a budget shortfall up to $750 million. Much of this potential shortfall can be attributed to deficits in the Medicaid system that could reach as high as $633 million. 1.4 million of the nation’s 11 million uninsured children live in Texas. Bush fought efforts to expand health care to 220,000 Texas children, and 600,000 Texas children have been kept out of Medicaid, in part because of cumbersome administrative procedures. “Texas is second in the nation for children living in poverty, and second in the nation for people who live in hunger,” said Gore. “If Governor Bush ran America the way he has run the State of Texas, our prosperity could vanish and our progress could be blocked.”
    Source: Press Release, “Health Care in Texas” Jul 20, 2000

    Affordable care for women on Medicare

    Women on Medicare spend 13 percent more out-of-pocket for prescription drugs. Gore would add a prescription drug benefit so women under Medicare are not forced to choose between buying medicine and paying for food or rent. “Women’s health care often costs more than men’s, even though women have fewer dollars to spend on it,” said Gore. “I will fight to see that every woman in this land has access to the quality health coverage she deserves - and can afford the prescription medicines she needs.”
    Source: Press Release “Use Wealth to Improve Women’s Health” Jul 7, 2000

    Medicoverage: $255B to pay drug costs for seniors

    Gore’s Medicoverage plan would be paid for out of the budget surplus, costing $255 billion over ten years. It would pay 50% of prescription drugs costs up to $5,000 annually. Beginning with the first prescription they buy, Medicare beneficiaries would receive a significant discount on their prescription drugs. All prescriptions after $4,000 of out-of-pocket costs per year [are covered], no matter how high the bills. Medicoverage would pay all co-payments for low-income Medicare beneficiaries.
    Source: Press Release, “Affordable Prescription Drugs” Jul 3, 2000

    Health Care Trust Fund to increase access to care

    Gore would establish a Health Care Trust Fund to help expand access to health care coverage, invest in life-saving research and treatments to fight against cancer and other critical diseases. With the number of Americans on Medicare expected to double from 40 to 80 million by 2035, Gore announced he would place Medicare in a “lock box,” so its surpluses could only be used to pay down the national debt and to strengthen Medicare. Gore would also improve Medicare by providing all seniors with a new prescription drug benefit. Gore would allow Americans 55 to 65 to buy into Medicare, expand coverage to parents whose children are eligible for Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance program, and provide tax credits for small businesses and individuals without job-based health care.
    Source: Press Release, “Medicare Lock Box & Health Care Trust Fund” Jun 15, 2000

    Place Medicare in a “lock box”

    Gore announced he would place Medicare in a “lock box,” so its surpluses could only be used to pay down the national debt and to strengthen Medicare -- not for pork barrel spending or tax cuts. “If we do that, then never again can any Congress try to raid Medicare, cut it or take it away,” Gore said. “We will keep Medicare strong for decades to come.” Gore would also provide all seniors with a new prescription drug benefit, and would give Medicare new authority to promote competitive pricing.
    Source: Press Release, “Medicare Lock Box” Jun 14, 2000

    Use Medicare surplus to pay federal debt, not to cut taxes

    Gore wants to ensure, as the federal government takes in more money than is needed to fund Medicare, that the excess funds are used only to pay down the overall federal debt. He said his proposal to put all of the revenue from the 2.9% Medicare payroll tax into a separate account would prevent Congress from using the money as “a piggybank for other purposes,” such as tax cuts and spending programs. “The temptation has always been to treat Medicare the way Social Security used to be treated - as the source of money for spending or tax cuts,” he said. “And now that we have succeeded in taking Social Security off budget and using it to pay down the debt, we need to do the same thing with Medicare and put it in a lock box.”
    Source: Dan Balz & Ceci Connolly, Washington Post Jun 7, 2000

    Medicare option at age 55; more Rx coverage

    On Medicare: Add prescription drug benefit and let uninsured Americans aged 55 to 65 buy into Medicare coverage. Drug plan would offer free coverage for low-income recipients, catastrophic coverage for all, and optional cost-sharing benefit for others with premiums of $44 a month when phased in.
    Source: Associated Press Mar 14, 2000

    Private insurers won’t take AIDS patients; need Medicaid

    GORE [to Bradley]: 50% of all of the Americans who have HIV/AIDS now get Medicaid; 90% of all the children with HIV/AIDS get Medicaid. Bradley’s proposal would eliminate the Medicaid program and replace it with a $150-a-month voucher with which you cannot purchase anything like the health care benefits that are now available under Medicaid.

    BRADLEY: [For AIDS patients under my plan], it’s the same services, it’s the same benefits. The only difference is that now if you have HIV, you can qualify for insurance. And tonight I pledge that any health care bill that I would sign would have every Medicaid patient on a better health plan than Medicaid is today.

    GORE: That’s not a plan, that’s a magic wand. It doesn’t work that way, because the problem that people with AIDS and other diseases have in the private health insurance market is that the insurance companies don’t want to take them. They want to get rid of them. You give them a $150-a-month voucher, they can’t buy it.

    Source: (X-ref to Bradley) Democrat debate in Harlem, NYC Feb 21, 2000

    We can give prescription help to elderly AND save Medicare

    Q: If you were to be president, how would adjust affordability of prescription Medicare when the salaries of our elderly patients are limited? A: I’ve made a proposal that will give every single person with Medicare eligibility financial help in purchasing prescription drugs. I think that it’s also important to recognize the financial challenges that face the Medicare system as a whole. By the year 2015, the Medicare system will go bankrupt unless we put money from the surplus in now.
    Source: Democrat debate in Harlem, NYC Feb 21, 2000

    “Outrageous scare tactics” on Medicare’s HIV treatment?

    Gore claimed yesterday that Bradley’s health care plan would deprive people with HIV and AIDS of health coverage. Gore said Bradley’s plan would hurt poor people with HIV because it called for abolishing Medicaid. The government health care program for the poor.
    Bradley responded that his plan would call for current Medicaid recipients to receive coverage under the system of private insurance that now covers federal employees, which he contends would be superior to Medicaid.
    Gore’s press secretary then responded, “Bradley’s health plan would replace Medicaid with a $150 monthly voucher, which will not begin to cover the many services required by people with HIV and AIDS.”
    Bradley accused Gore of resorting to “outrageous scare tactics” in criticizing his plan.
    Source: (X-ref to Bradley) Boston Globe, p. A21 Feb 15, 2000

    Weighted averages don’t work in Medicaid world

    GORE [to Bradley]: The health care approach that I’ve recommended is the best way to get the universal health insurance and to start by providing affordable high-quality health care for every child. One way not to get there is by eliminating Medicaid and providing an inadequate $150-a-month voucher in its place.

    BRADLEY: This is not a voucher. It’s a weighted average of the different states that will be adjusted over time. Everyone who has Medicaid now will have access to health care but they’ll have access to health care in a federal system which is the same system that provides help for congressmen and Senators.

    GORE: Where could they buy the health care benefits that they get right now with $150 a month? A weighted average means a half the states would get less than $150 a month. A weighted average sounds like the guy who had his feet on a block of ice and his head in the oven and according to the weighted average, he was comfortable. It doesn’t work out in real life that way.

    Source: Democrat Debate in Des Moines, Iowa Jan 17, 2000

    Help seniors by helping Medicare

    Q: How would your health care plan help older Americans on fixed incomes?

    GORE: I allocate $374 billion over the next 10 years to the Medicare program. Under Senator Bradley’s plan, he doesn’t put a penny into Medicare.Under my plan, [an elderly patient] would get the cost of her prescription drugs covered. Under Senator Bradley’s plan, she would have a $500 deductible and then $300 premiums, so she wouldn’t get a penny of help under Senator Bradley’s plan.

    BRADLEY: As a part of an overall health care program that I’ve proposed, I cover drug costs for senior citizens. After they’ve paid the first $800, they pay 25% above that. If we make sure they get access to the right drugs and we pay for them, that will save overall health care costs, because they will not be put into hospitals or have to pay very high expenses for doctor bills.

    Source: (Cross-ref from Bradley) Democrat Debate in Johnston Iowa Jan 8, 2000

    Capping Medicaid payments hurts minorities

    Q: Choose a quote out of context that you think was offensive.

    BRADLEY: The one that was most particularly offensive to me was when [Gore] said that I was going to hurt African-Americans & Latinos with [my proposed] health care program. And he said that I am going to destroy Medicaid. What I’m trying to do is to replace Medicaid with something better.

    GORE: What I said is that poor people are disproportionately likely to be African-American & Latino. [Those are] groups that are hurt when Medicaid is eliminated and they’re given instead a little $150-a-month voucher.

    BRADLEY: It’s not a $150 cap. It’s a weighted average. Someplace it’ll be more, someplace it’ll be less.

    GORE: [In some states, for $150] there is no plan that they can buy into.

    BRADLEY: Let me explain. how the private sector works. Insurance companies [will] compete to provide the lowest cost service. And with a weighted average the individual could bump up so that they would have available [plans] as well.

    Source: (Cross-ref. from Bradley) Democratic Debate in Durham, NH Jan 5, 2000

    Additional funds for Medicare are urgently needed

    GORE [to Bradley]: Medicare needs funding now. I set aside 15% of the surplus for Medicare. Bill does not set aside a penny.

    BRADLEY: I defended Medicare on the Senate Finance Committee for 18 years. We prevented premiums from going up on a number of occasions. Medicare is the most important public insurance program on health care that we have.. [We’ll] probably have a reduction in Medicare costs over time. But no one should doubt my commitment to making sure Medicare is solid.

    GORE: There are teaching hospitals, nursing homes and home health care agencies and rehabilitative services and rural hospitals that need more Medicare funding right now. We’re going to see a doubling of the Medicare population over the next 30 years. The baby boomer generation is getting ready to retire. Everybody knows that more money has to be made available to Medicare. Now when you eliminate the whole surplus without saving a penny for Medicare, that is a serious problem for our economy.

    Source: Town Hall Meeting, Nashua NH Dec 18, 1999

    $150 vouchers are no substitute for Medicaid

    There are seven million disabled Americans. Two thirds of all of the senior citizens in nursing homes here in New Hampshire and across the country are on Medicaid. If we cancel Medicaid and substitute little vouchers capped at $150 a month, there’s not a single plan available here in New Hampshire that you can get for anything approximating the cap in this plan.
    Source: Town Hall Meeting, Nashua NH Dec 18, 1999

    Hold HMOs, Medicare, and Medicaid accountable

    Q: How will you hold the HMOs accountable for their decisions? A: I’ve fought strongly for the health care Patients Bill of Rights. If there is one principle we can all agree on, [it’s that] medical decisions ought to be made by doctors and nurses and health care professionals. We started in the current administration by applying that principle to all of the federal programs. So you’d have the right to appeal, you’d have a right to see a specialist. And the appeal would go to somebody outside the HMO.
    Source: Town Hall Meeting, Nashua NH Dec 18, 1999

    Medicare & Medicaid need improvement, not elimination

    You can’t fix what’s wrong with our health care system by getting rid of things that are right. Medicaid is a safety net that 40 million Americans rely on. It needs to be improved, not eliminated. Medicare is a great program but it needs to be fixed, not starved for the money that’s needed in order to stabilize its financing. We need to build on what works and make sure we get to where every American has health insurance.
    Source: TV ad, “Build” Nov 24, 1999

    Set aside 15-16% of budget surplus to fix Medicare

    We have to look ahead and save some of the budget surplus for Medicare. If we wipe out Medicaid and wipe out the chance to save Medicare, and wipe out the surplus, then you might get a few more people in the short run.. Medicare cannot be an afterthought. The only way to fix Medicare fairly is to set aside 15 to 16 percent of the surplus to do it now. Otherwise, you’re putting Medicare at risk.
    Source: (X-ref Budget) Democrat Debate at Dartmouth Oct 28, 1999

    $110B for Medicare prescriptions & teaching hospitals

    Gore has proposed providing health insurance for all children as well as their parents, preserving the solvency of Medicare, and creating a new prescription drug benefit under Medicare. Gore would leave Medicaid in place, and he would help small businesses get the same rates for health insurance that big businesses currently receive. All that would cost $110 billion over 10 years, he says. Gore said teaching hospitals need funds right away, particularly if Congress does not address Medicare.
    Source: Boston Globe, p. A14 Oct 5, 1999

    Opposed cutting Medicare; commit more funds instead

    When some in Congress proposed deep cuts in Medicare and Medicaid, Al Gore stood strong in opposition. [Gore supported] reforms that have extended the life of the trust fund by 16 years -[and] using one out of every six dollars of the budget surplus over the next 15 years to strengthen Medicare even more. Gore is also working to meet the growing needs of seniors through Medicare -- such as access to life-saving cancer clinical trials and help in buying prescription drugs.
    Source: www.AlGore2000.com/issues/health.html 5/14/99 May 14, 1999

    Patient bill of rights should serve people, not HMOs

    Gore today challenged Congress to pass a strong, enforceable Patients’ Bill of Rights. The Senate Republican bill, which is supported by the insurance industry, would leave out 135 million Americans and exclude important protections, such as access to specialists and emergency room care. “It is time for Congress to serve the people, not the powerful,” said Gore. “It’s time to do what’s right for doctors and their patients -- not the big HMOs. It’s time to pass a real Patients’ Bill of Rights.”
    Source: Press Release “Gore for Strong Patient Bill of Rights” Jul 11, 2000

    Patient rights: access to specialists; right to sue HMOs

    George W. Bush’s plan:Al Gore’s plan:
    Tax credit for 90% of health insurance costs for families making up to $60,000, individuals up to $45,000Tax credit worth 25% of premiums paid by people who buy insurance on their own
    Flexibility for states to expand coverage under the federal Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIPs)Coverage for more children under the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIPs)
    Help for small businesses to buy cheaper insurance through multistate organizationsEnact a Patient’s Bill of Rights, with access to specialists, emergency rooms, and the right to sue HMOs
    Source: USA Today editorials, page 16A Apr 13, 2000

    Patients’ Bill of Rights to ensure quality care

    Gore has been a leader in the fight for a strong, enforceable Patients’ Bill of Rights -- ensuring the best health care, not just the cheapest. These include: the right to see a specialist, the right to use the nearest emergency room when you are hurt, choice of providers, and the right to appeal the decisions of a health plan.
    Source: www.AlGore2000.com/issues/health.html 5/14/99 May 14, 1999

    • Click here for 46 main quotations from Al Gore on Health Care.
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