More headlines: Bill Bradley on Health Care

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

Invest in Medicare in good economic times

Q: Medicare is going bankrupt in 15 years. Why don’t you allocate a single penny to Medicare? A: The question is different timing. If we grow faster than 2.9% [my plan] is going to have money dedicated to Medicare. It’s as simple as that.
Source: Democratic Debate in Durham, NH Jan 5, 2000

Commitment to Medicare spans 18 years

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

Medicaid is not working

From the vantage point of Washington, Medicaid looks pretty good. But if you get out in the country, you find that it’s not working. For example, 40% of the people who live in poverty in this country are not covered. And nearly 70% of the doctors don’t fully participate. That means Medicaid patients go to emergency rooms. I think there’s a better way than continuing with a Medicaid system that is full of holes.
Source: Town Hall Meeting, Nashua NH Dec 18, 1999

Hold HMOs accountable

Q: How will you hold the HMOs accountable for their decisions? A: Patients’ bill of rights: Yes. Consumers’ right to know: Yes. But there are going to come times when elected representatives have to take it to the HMOs & force them to do certain things. I’ve done that. I got a letter during my term in the Senate from a number of women who said they were being pushed out of the hospital in 24 hours after they’d given birth to a child. We passed a law. allowing them to stay in the hospital for 48 hours.
Source: Town Hall Meeting, Nashua NH Dec 18, 1999

Refuses to rule out tax hike for health plan

Saying it would be irresponsible and dishonest for any presidential candidate to take a “no new taxes” pledge, Bradley today refused to rule out raising taxes to pay for his plan to make health insurance available to almost every American. But Bradley said he did not think a tax increase would be necessary to pay for the $65-billion-a-year proposal because of the nation’s robust economy and a projected $1 trillion surplus, which he says is large enough to finance the plan over the coming decade.
Source: Boston Globe, p. A18 Dec 7, 1999

Alter tax code to make health insurance more affordable

Changing the tax code [for health reform is] part of Bradley’s proposal. Employers get tax breaks, totaling $100 billion a year, when they purchase health insurance for their workers. But individuals who buy insurance on their own get little help. That’s one reason insurance is often unaffordable.
Source: US News & World Report, p. 32 Oct 18, 1999

$65B per year for 45 million uninsured

Bradley outlined a $65 billion plan today intended to provide all Americans access to health coverage by significantly expanding federal subsidies and tax credits to help families buy insurance. Bradley’s proposal, aimed at the roughly 45 million people who lack health coverage, would pay all or part of the insurance premiums for nearly 30 million lower-income children and adults. It also would for the first time allow anyone to buy private coverage through the program that insures federal workers.
Source: Washington Post, pg. A1 Sep 29, 1999

Structurally reform health system; fully fund Medicare

In the fall, I’ll be laying out a very specific program on terms of how to approach national health coverage, including Medicare. I’m not afraid to look at means testing, although I’m certainly not advocating it today. The important thing is to make sure that seniors have adequate health care and that Medicare is fully funded. There are a variety of ways that you can do that. But if you don’t have structural reform, you simply take money out of the surplus and use it to back up Medicare.
Source: NBC’s “Meet the Press” Aug 1, 1999

  • Click here for 17 main quotations from Bill Bradley on Health Care.
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