BUSH: A plan is not a litany of complaints and not to lay out programs that you canít pay for. The same plan that senators and congressmen get costs the government $7,700 per family. If every family in America signed up like the senator suggested it would cost us $5 trillion over 10 years. Itís an empty promise. Itís called bait and switch.
A: Two leading national news networks have both said Bushís characterization of my health-care plan is incorrect. One called it fiction. The other called it untrue. The fact is that my health-care plan, America, is very simple. It gives you the choice. I donít force you to do anything. Itís not a government plan. The government doesnít require you to do anything. You choose your doctor. You choose your plan. If you donít want to take the offer of the plan that I want to put forward, you donít have do. You can keep what you have today, keep a high deductible, keep high premiums, keep a high co-pay, keep low benefits. Hereís what I do: We take over Medicaid children from the states so that every child in America is covered. And in exchange, if the states want to-theyíre not forced to, they can choose to-they cover individuals up to 300 percent of poverty. Itís their choice.
BUSH: Talk about the VA: Weíve increased VA funding by $22 billion in the four years since Iíve been president. Thatís twice the amount that my predecessor increased VA funding. Of course weíre meeting our obligation to our veterans, and the veterans know that. Weíre expanding veteransí health care throughout the country. Weíre aligning facilities where the veterans live now. Veterans are getting very good health care under my administration, and they will continue to do so during the next four years.
Kerry bases his claim on one disputed study by two Bush critics, Boston University researchers Alan Sager and Deborah Socolar, who concluded that 35% of the $400 billion cost that was projected at the time-or $139 billion-would be ďwindfall profitsĒ to drug companies. Their findings are contradicted by a study in March 2004 commissioned by the Pacific Research Institute, which describes itself as a ďfree-market think tank.Ē They estimated drug company profits much lower-from an increase of 3.2% ($13 billion) to a possible decline of 1%. The two studies make starkly different assumptions about whether the new drug benefit will cause seniors to buy a lot more medication thereby increasing sales, and also about the extent to which competition among different drug plans will force drug companies to offer rebates and discounts to get the business.
BUSH: If theyíre safe, theyíre coming. I want to remind you that it wasnít just my administration that made the decision on safety. Clinton did the sam thing because we have an obligation to protect you. Kerryís been in the US Senate 20 years. Show me one accomplishment toward Medicare that he accomplished. Iíve been in Washington 3-1/2 years and led the Congress to reform Medicare so our seniors have got a modern health care system.
KERRY: In 1997 we fixed Medicare, and I was one of the people involved in it. We not only fixed Medicare and took it way out into the future; we did something that you donít know how to do, we balanced the budget.
A: I will change the benefit so that it: rewards employers who are offering retiree health benefits rather than undermining them; does not push seniors into HMOs; includes real cost containment and improves protections for low-income Americans.
|Other candidates on Health Care:||John Kerry on other issues:|
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