BILL BRADLEY: Blasts Gore’s ‘Shameless’ Attacks
Appearing yesterday with several leaders of San Francisco's gay community, Democratic presidential hopeful Bill Bradley fired back against Al Gore's weekend attacks on his health plan, accusing Gore of "shamelessly tr[ying] to scare people," the Washington Post reports. Gore told the San Francisco Chronicle this weekend that Bradley's Medicaid plan would leave HIV/AIDS patients without full coverage (Allen/Babington, Washington Post, 2/15). At yesterday's press conference, Bradley responded to the claim, saying, "Making sure that AIDS and HIV patients have access to health care is a prime part of what I'm trying to do" (Gold/Cooper, Los Angeles Times, 2/15). Pointing out that some AIDS patients cannot obtain private coverage because of the disease, he argued that his proposal "would serve [them] and the poor better than Gore's because it would allow them to sign up for the same coverage given to federal employees -- a plan that prohibits discrimination on the basis of pre-existing conditions," the AP/Nando Times reports (Lindlaw, AP/Nando Times, 2/14). In addition, his plan would offer wider coverage and support of AIDS patients through a system of community health centers, Bradley said. He added, "I find the comments made by the vice president outrageous. ... [They are] a use of scare tactics that he should be ashamed of." AIDS patient Jeff Sheehy, who spoke at the Bradley press conference, agreed, calling Gore's statements "astounding for their ignorance." He said, "For the vice president to frighten people who are in precarious and marginal situations, it causes me to ask serious questions about his character." According to Henry Aaron, a health care policy expert with the Brookings Institution, Bradley's outrage may be justified. Aaron, who called Gore's comments deceptive and "gratuitous," disputed the vice president's claim that HIV-positive people would not receive full coverage under the Bradley plan. "It's just not a legitimate criticism," he said. But Gore spokesperson Chris Lehane retorted, "The bottom line is that Sen. Bradley cannot refute Al Gore's challenge that his health care plan does not provide adequate coverage for those who suffer from HIV" (Hohler/Crowley, Boston Globe, 2/15). He added, "The private market is not going to rush in to provide health care to these people, certainly not for a $150 a month" (AP/Nando Times, 2/14).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.