More headlines: George W. Bush on Health Care
(Following are older quotations. Click here for main quotations.)
Gore a hop, skip, & jump away from Hillary-care
[Bush said of Gore], “he says he’s for a step-by-step plan for universal coverage. No, folks. He’s for a hop, skip and a jump to national health care. He thought Hillary-care made a lot of sense,” Bush
added, seeking to tie Gore’s current plans to the unpopular 1993 effort to overhaul the nation’s health insurance system that was spearheaded by first lady Hillary Rodham Clinton.
Source: AP Story, NY Times
Nov 2, 2000
Claims that he supported patient rights in Texas is false
To the very first debate question, Gore said Bush does not support a strong patient’s bill of rights. Bush said he pushed through just such a law in Texas. Bush was wrong. He opposed the legislation.
In 1995 Bush vetoed a patient’s bill of rights,
one that contained many of the provisions that he praised last night: report cards on health maintenance organizations, liberal emergency room access, and the elimination of a gag clause forbidding doctors from telling patients about more costly
treatment options than HMO coverage.
At the time, Bush said these provisions would be too costly to business. Bush did sign some of the provisions into law two years later. But he opposed the right to sue HMOs in court,
a right last night he termed “interesting.” But a bipartisan, veto-proof majority in the Texas Legislature supported the right to sue. Bush let the provision go into law without his signature.
Source: Boston Globe analysis of St. Louis debate
Oct 18, 2000
Blueprint: Senior choice; Rx benefit; tax breaks
The Bush plan will:
Source: Blueprint for the Middle Class
Sep 17, 2000
- Modernize Medicare.Give seniors a greater choice in plans with more options & access to the latest medical technology.
- Provide a prescription drug benefit now.Underwrite at least 25% of the cost of prescription
drug premiums for all seniors.
- Provide catastrophic Medicare coverage. Ensure seniors suffering from life-threatening illnesses will never pay more than $6,000 annually for Medicare costs.
- Provide patients a bill of rights.Provide
patient protections, like those in Texas, to ensure quality of care from health care providers.
- Provide access to health care for the uninsured and underserved.Refundable health credit of $2,000 to help purchase health insurance. Commit $3.6
billion over five years to build 1,200 new Community Health Centers.
- Support caregivers and long-term care. Additional exemption ($2,750 in 2000) for each elderly relative; plus 100% tax deduction for long-term care insurance premiums.
Affordable long-term care instead of financial ruin
Bush wants to provide an income tax deduction to anyone buying long-term care insurance. The deduction would apply to everyone except those on employer-subsidized long-term care plans. By some estimates, half of older women and a third of
older men are likely to need nursing home care. An increasing number of people will be affected as the baby boom generation ages. “My goal is to make long-term care available and affordable instead of a path to financial ruin,” Bush said.
Source: Boston Globe, p. A29, part of “Renewing America’s Purpose”
May 11, 2000
$3.6B for 1200 new community health centers
Calling them “America’s health care safety net,” Bush today proposed a $3.6 billion plan to increase the number of community health centers from “coast to coast.” Bush said. “Under this plan, we will provide $3.6 billion in federal money over a five-year
period to create 1200 new centers from coast to coast. I am also proposing a Healthy Communities Innovation Fund-an extra source of federal support for health care in underserved communities. This initiative will support pilot programs and demonstration
projects for targeted purposes, such as AIDS education or mental health awareness.“ Community health centers are medical clinics that offer one-stop services for prevention care, free vaccines, health alerts, disease screening, and counseling. The Bush
plan will increase the number of community health centers from 3000 to 4200.” The most difficult places to build a quality health facility are the very areas where the need is greatest-and where patients have the least ability to pay,“ Bush said.
Source: Press Release
Apr 12, 2000
Against mandates not related to patient care
Bush vetoed the Texas Patient Protection Act despite protests because the “bill had a host of mandates and regulations not directly related to patient care.”
Bush [suggested] new rules to protect patients:
Source: “A Charge to Keep”, p.189-195
Dec 9, 1999
- HMOs are forbidden to enact “gag clauses”
- insurance companies must pay for hospital emergency care in real emergencies
- women can go directly to their gynecologist
- Patients with ongoing illnesses cannot be required to change doctors
Endorses tax-subsidized medical savings accounts
Bush endorsed medical savings accounts - tax-favored accounts that individuals can use to buy catastrophic health insurance.
Source: L.A. Times
May 1, 1999
Supports subsidized Medicare menu with means testing
On Medicare, Bush said he was attracted to the plan drafted by Sen. John Breaux (D-La.). Bush said. “[I find attractive] the idea of having a basket of opportunity with premiums subsidized at the federal level, based on means testing.” Bush also said,
“The Breaux plan didn’t cut benefits.” But then he acknowledged that the plan did recommend raising the age of eligibility for Medicare.
Source: Dan Balz, The Washington Post
Apr 25, 1999
More managed care; more tax incentives; no state guarantees
Gov. Bush supports the following principles regarding Medicare and health insurance issues:
Source: Vote Smart NPAT 1998
Jul 2, 1998
- Provide tax incentives to small businesses who provide health care to their employees.
- Transfer more existing Medicaid recipients into managed care
- Use state funds to continue some Medicaid coverage for legal immigrants.
- Guaranteeing medical care to all citizens is not a responsibility of state government.
$3.5B of Bush’s $4.7B on uninsured is from private sources
On three occasions in their debate last week, Bush said, “We spent $4.7 billion a year in the state of Texas for uninsured people.” However, a recent report by the state comptroller says $3.5 billion, or three- fourths of that amount, resulted from
charity care provided by doctors and hospitals and care financed by local governments or charitable institutions.
The letter, written to Gore and signed by senior members of the Texas House of Representatives, says, “Of the $4.7 billion referenced
by the governor, $3.5 billion consists of charitable care provided by hospitals in their emergency rooms, private physicians, charities, local governments and free clinics, none of which is paid for by the state.“
A Bush spokesman said Bush did not
mean to imply that all of the $4.7 billion was state money: ”The governor was merely explaining that people in Texas do have access to health care. We have a double safety net to make sure that people who don’t have insurance receive the care they need.“
Source: Analysis of Wake Forest debate, Robert Pear, NY Times
Oct 16, 2000
Texas spent $4.7B on uninsured & covered 110,000 kids
GORE [to Bush]: Texas ranks 49th out of the states in health care.
BUSH: We spent $4.7 billion a year on the uninsured in Texas. The percentage of uninsured in Texas has gone down, while the percentage of uninsured in America has gone up. Our CHIPS
program got a late start because our government meets only four months out of every two years. It may come as a shock for somebody who’s been in Washington for so long, but limited government can work. In ‘99, we signed up over 110,000 children to the
CHIPS program. For comparable states our size, we’re signing them up fast as any other state.
GORE: I’m no expert on Texas procedures, but friends there tell me that the governor opposed a measure put forward by Democrats in the legislature to expand
the number of children that would be covered. And instead directed the money toward a tax cut, a significant part of which went to wealthy interests. He declared the need for a new tax cut for the oil companies in Texas an emergency need.
Source: (X-ref Gore) Presidential Debate at Wake Forest
Oct 11, 2000
$4.7B for uninsured children in Texas; 1.4M still uninsured
GORE [to Bush]: There are 1.4 million children in Texas who do not have health insurance.
BUSH: If he’s trying to allege that I’m a hard-hearted person and I don’t care about children, he’s absolutely wrong. We spent $4.7 billion a year in the
State of Texas for uninsured people and they get health care. The facts are that we’re reducing the number of uninsured as a percentage of our population. And as a percentage of the population that’s increasing nationally.
Source: Presidential Debate at Wake Forest University
Oct 11, 2000
Gore’s plan is “Mediscare”; hasn’t helped for 8 years
GORE (to Bush): 95% of all seniors would get no help whatsoever, under my opponent’s plan, for the first 4 or 5 years. Why is it that the wealthiest 1% get their tax cuts the first year, but 95% of seniors have to wait 4 to 5 years before they get a
BUSH: I guess my answer to that is, the man’s running on Mediscare, trying to frighten people in the voting booth. That’s just not the way I think, and I that’s just not my intentions. That’s not my plan.
Source: Presidential debate, Boston MA
Oct 3, 2000
Medicare & drug benefit plan reveal suspicion of government
Bush’s proposal to redesign Medicare and offer drug benefits to the elderly puts him squarely in line with his party’s drive to reshape the program by reducing the role of government, increasing
the role of insurance companies and giving elderly people more choices. Bush sees Medicare as a prime example of government regulation run wild. Bush would subsidize a variety
of health plans offering different drug benefits and charging different premiums and co-payments. Bush has set the stage for a reprise of the health care battles of the last decade,
revolving around a fundamental question: which do voters fear more, the government or the insurance industry?
Source: Robert Pear, Robin Toner in NY Times
Sep 6, 2000
Modernize Medicare and give prescription help to seniors
Medicare is an enduring commitment of our country, but it must be modernized for our times. We will work to modernize Medicare, but we will not wait to help seniors without prescription drugs. This plan will help
seniors much sooner than anything proposed by my opponent. Even if the Gore plan passed, no one would get drug benefits for eight years.
Sep 5, 2000
Reinvent Medicare’s bureaucracy
Bush’s proposed initiatives are intended to reinvent Medicare in a way that would incrementally break down the federal bureaucracy which now administers the multibillion-dollar insurance program. Bush’s two-part,
10-year plan for seniors aims to provide immediate drug coverage to low-income earners, shore up the solvency of the Medicare program over the coming decade and offer seniors a menu of health-care plans from which to choose.
Sep 5, 2000
Restore $21B in Medicare reimbursements
“I believe more should be done to protect today’s Medicare beneficiaries and to support the Medicare system,” said Bush. Bush will support bipartisan efforts to restore $21 Billion of Medicare reimbursements over the next five years. Legislation to
povide these give-backs is under consideration in Congress. If these efforts are not successful, Bush would work with Congress to restore the funding in the Medicare program to alleviate the problems caused by the 1997 BBA. [$40.3 billion over 10 years]
Source: Press Release, “Restore $21 Billion”
Sep 5, 2000
Tax-deductible long-term care insurance for retirement
The danger in the health care debate is that America falls prey to the idea that the federal government should make all decisions for consumers and the federal government should make all decisions for the providers, that the federal government should
In terms of long-term care for the baby boomers, we ought to encourage the purchase of long-term care insurance and allow deductibility of that insurance so that the new younger generations are able to plan more aptly for when they retire.
Source: GOP Debate in Johnston, Iowa
Jan 16, 2000
Keep Medicare in government, but provide flexibility
Q: What about the elimination and the phasing out of Medicare and Medicaid? A: No, I think it is a bad idea. Medicare is the responsibility of the Federal Government; it’s a commitment we’ve got to keep. The problem with Medicare is it’s run by a 135,000
page document where the government decides everything. They decide how the patient chooses things and how the doctors perform. I think we need to give patients more choice and doctors more flexibility. I think [phasing it out is] a bad idea.
Source: Des Moines Iowa GOP Debate
Dec 13, 1999
Strengthen Medicare through choice and other options
Medicare should be strengthened by providing more choice and more private sector alternatives for the elderly, including plans that offer coverage for prescription drugs. I support medical savings accounts and patient protections in federal health
care plans similar to the ones I signed in Texas. I would not, however, support allowing the federal government to supersede the health reforms already enacted by states such as mine.
Source: “A Charge to Keep”, p.238
Dec 9, 1999
Patient Bill of Rights, but not Dingell-Norwell
BUSH [to Gore]: It’s time for our nation to come together & do what’s right for the people. I support a national patients’ bill of rights.
Q: Do you two agree on that?
GORE: Absolutely not. The Dingell-Norwood bill is the bipartisan bill that is now
pending in the Congress. The HMOs & the insurance companies support the other bill that’s pending, the one that Republican majority has put forward. [The Dingell-Norwood bill] is being blocked by the Republican leadership in the Congress. I specifically
would like to know whether Gov. Bush will support the Dingell-Norwood bill, which is the main one pending.
BUSH: I talked about the principles and the issues that I think are important in a patients’ bill of rights. Now, there’s this kind of
Washington, D.C., focus, well, it’s in this committee or it’s got this sponsor. If I’m the president, we’re going to have emergency room care [and the rest of] what I’ve done in Texas. And that’s the kind of leadership style I’ll bring to Washington.
Source: St. Louis debate
Oct 17, 2000
Use Texas model for Bill of Rights: access; choice; appeals
Bush already has enacted a patients’ bill of rights in Texas that is considered a model by the AMA. A significant piece of the Texas bill of rights legislation, giving patients the right the sue insurance companies, became law without Bush’s
signature. Among the Texas law’s provisions:
Source: Associated Press
Aug 31, 2000
- Patients can appeal denials of care to an independent review panel and in some cases, sue their HMO if they are hurt because the HMO denied or delayed the approval of treatment.
- Women have direct
access to their obstetrician and gynecologist and are covered for a minimum of 48 hours in the hospital after giving birth.
- Employees have the right to choose their own doctor, even outside their health plan, so long as they are willing to pay
additional costs of that coverage.
- People have access to their own specialists.
- Final medical decisions must be made by doctors, not HMOs.
- In emergencies, HMOs by law must make decisions about coverage within two hours.
Use Texas patient protections as model for federal programs
Supports giving patients in federally governed health care plans protections similar to those already enacted in Texas; highlights:
Source: GeorgeWBush.com: ‘Issues: Policy Points Overview’
Apr 2, 2000
- Allow patients to appeal denials of care to an independent review panel and in some cases take the HMO to court
- Require coverage and payment of emergency services
- Allow patients to choose their own doctor, outside their plan, as long as they are willing to pay any additional cost
- Require report cards on the performance of HMOs
- Prohibit gag clauses, which discourage doctors from communicating with patients regarding treatment options
- Require HMOs to give women direct access to their obstetrician-gynecologists
Bush signed Texas’ version of Patient Bill of Rights
Thanks to the laws I signed, in Texas. HMOs are forbidden to enact “gag clauses” that discourage doctors from discussing treatment options, insurance must pay for hospital emergency care, women can go directly to their gynecologist. Patients with
lengthy, ongoing illnesses cannot be required to change doctors, and if cancer patients need treatment that is not provided within their. network, their insurance must refer them to specialty hospitals and pay for that care.
Source: “A Charge to Keep”, p.195
Dec 9, 1999
Choose doctor for pay outside of HMOs
Bush allowed Texas patients the right to choose their own doctor. He gave employees the right to choose, even outside their plan, if they are willing to pay additional costs of that coverage.
Source: GeorgeWBush.com/News/ “1999 Texas Legislative Record”
Jun 25, 1999
Seniors deserve prescription drug benefit and choice
Bush said, “Medicare does not offer a prescription drug benefit. This must change.” Bush’s plan for long-term Medicare viability also includes a guarantee of access to Medicare for all senior citizens; providing a choice or health plans to every
insurance beneficiary; a refusal to increase the taxes for Medicare , coverage of at least some health expenses for low-income seniors, and streamlined access to the latest medical technologies for Medicare beneficiaries.
Source: CNN.com report from Rancho Cucamonga, CA
May 15, 2000