California Healthline Rounds Up Democratic Presidential Campaign News
California Healthline summarizes recent news about the Democratic presidential campaign.
Howard Dean: Leaders of the Service Employees International Union appeared with former Vermont Gov. Dean (D) on Thursday and indicated that he will be their selection when the union formally announces its endorsement next week, the Des Moines Register reports. SEIU President Andrew Stern said the union is delaying its endorsement at the request of Gerald McEntee, president of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees; the delay will allow the AFSCME's union board to meet and consider its endorsement (Norman, Des Moines Register, 11/7). Officials from both unions said they expect to formally endorse Dean in a joint announcement next week. "We are hopeful that there are actually other unions who share our members' excitement for Dr. Dean. Our members continue to say that Dr. Dean is the candidate that they feel best represents them and that they would like to be the president of the United States," Stern said at a Washington news conference (Wilgoren, New York Times, 11/7). The SEIU, which represents nurses, nursing home workers, janitors and public service employees, has 1.6 million members (Des Moines Register, 11/7). The AFSCME has 1.4 million members (Gerstenzang/Barabak, Los Angeles Times, 11/7). If Dean secures the support of both unions, which are among the largest in the AFL-CIO, the endorsements would "deal a severe blow" to presidential candidate Rep. Dick Gephardt (D-Mo.), who has the support of 20 international unions, the New York Times reports (New York Times, 11/7). Those unions -- including the Amalgamated Transit Union, the Teamsters and the United Food and Commercial Workers -- represent 5 million members nationwide (Los Angeles Times, 11/7). However, without the support of the SEIU and the AFSCME, Gephardt would not be able to secure enough AFL-CIO member votes to win its overall endorsement (New York Times, 11/7).
- Joe Lieberman: An asset limit that determines seniors' eligibility for Medicaid benefits for nursing home care should be eliminated, Sen. Lieberman (D-Conn.) on Thursday said in a speech at a community center in Lauderhill, Fla., the Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel reports. Current regulations, which have not been modified since 1989, extend benefits to seniors whose monetary assets are no greater than $2,000 for individuals and $3,000 for couples (Milarsky/Park, Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel, 11/7). Lieberman said that to qualify for Medicaid benefits, seniors "either have to be in poverty or red ink or spend themselves into the poor house by giving away ... assets." Under his plan, seniors would be able to maintain assets such as savings, homes, burial plots and family jewelry, and overall bureaucracy would be reduced, the AP/Miami Herald reports (Thomas, AP/Miami Herald, 11/7). "These rules today are just wrong. Two million low-income seniors need and deserve long-term health care and aren't getting it," Lieberman said (Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel, 11/7).