Two candidates, two health care plans
In today's New York Times, the editorial staff compares the two candidates' health plans. Here are their findings:
"On the vexing issue of how to provide coverage for the 45 million Americans who currently lack health insurance, Senator Kerry would do a far better job. His plan would extend coverage to some 27 million of the uninsured, mostly by expanding Medicaid and the Children's Health Insurance Program to include children and adults whose income is twice to three times the poverty level. Mr. Kerry would also provide subsidies to encourage more employers to offer coverage. In a bow to a favorite nostrum of conservative health analysts, he would set up a new health plan modeled on that serving federal employees. It would be open to individuals and businesses and subsidized with tax credits.
President Bush would rely primarily on a tax credit of up to $3,000 to help lower-income families buy health insurance and on a tax deduction to encourage people to buy high-deductible policies. But the credit will not go far toward paying for policies that can cost $9,000 to $10,000 a year. Independent estimates suggest that the Bush plan would cover at most seven million of the uninsured. "
The New York Times blasts President Bush's medical savings account plan as " unjustified tax break for those who least need it."
Seeking to curry favor with large pharmaceutical companies, Bush has refused to take simple measures to rein in spiralling drug prices. The Times notes, "President Bush has opposed the importation of cheaper drugs from abroad and supports the Medicare drug law that prohibits the federal government from negotiating drug prices with the manufacturers. Mr. Kerry supports drug importation and believes the federal government should use its purchasing power to negotiate lower drug prices."
Bush and his Republican allies in Congress claim to be the "pro-life" party. But their deliberate inaction on health insurance and drug prices is downright shameful.