BRADLEY 2000: Defends Health Care Plan, Criticizes Gore
Speaking yesterday to an audience at Morehouse School of Medicine, Democratic presidential candidate Bill Bradley focused on improving racial disparity in health care while issuing his "bluntest attack" to date on rival Vice President Al Gore, the Washington Post reports (Allen, 11/18). Bradley defended his $65 billion health care plan and his plan to phase out Medicaid, while accusing Gore of using "scare tactics" to criticize his proposal. Noting that he was "disappointed" in Gore's attacks, Bradley said he doesn't want a campaign that "uses people who are poor as political footballs." Gore, who plans to continue his assault on the Bradley plan this weekend when he addresses disabled voters in New Hampshire, has charged that Bradley's proposed changes to Medicaid would have a devastating effect on minorities and people with HIV who depend on the program for coverage. Under Gore's plan, the Medicaid program would expand eligibility requirements (Foskett, Cox News/Atlanta Journal- Constitution, 11/18). In the last week, Gore has gone on Spanish radio and placed ads on black radio stations blasting Bradley's plan. Yesterday Bradley called Gore's attacks on the Medicaid proposal "wrong" and charged Gore with using "constituency politics" to pit one group against another without looking at the whole. Bradley said, "He's defending something that needs to be improved" ( AP/Worcester Telegram & Gazette, 11/18). In addition, Bradley pointed out that Gore supported President Clinton's 1994 health care reform which included phasing out Medicaid. In response to Bradley's comments, Gore spokesperson Chris Lehane called Bradley's health care plan "scary" and added, "In the '94 health care debate, Sen. Bradley was missing in action. He only seems to have come across this issue when he started running for president." Introducing Bradley yesterday at Morehouse, Roger Wilkins, a Pulitzer Prize recipient and history professor at George Mason University, said, "It defies credulity that Bill Bradley would do anything to hurt blacks and Latinos" (Cox News/Atlanta Journal-Constitution, 11/18).
Kudos for Bradley
The National Association of Community Health Centers (NACHC) praised Bradley's plan, particularly his "Healthy Community Initiative," that would invest $2 billion annually to expand community health centers and public health agencies. Under that proposal, community health officials estimate that they can double the number of patients they care for. Giving the keynote address to a meeting of 6,000 public health workers, Bradley called community health centers the "anchors in their community" and praised them for their commitment to provide quality care. NACHC President Tom Van Coverden said, "We are inspired by Bill Bradley's vision of a healthier America and his call to make good health a community affair" (NACHC release, 11/17).
Not So Fast
According to a Quinnipiac College poll released Tuesday, Gore is reversing his slide against Bradley among New Hampshire voters for the first time since July. The poll had Gore and Bradley neck and neck, receiving 44% to 41% respectively, with a +/-5% margin of error. Last month's poll found Bradley had a slight lead, 43% to 36% ( AP/Worcester Telegram & Gazette, 11/18).