Democratic Presidential Candidate Wesley Clark To Release Plan To Boost Health Coverage for Children
Presidential candidate former Army Gen. Wesley Clark (D) would allocate roughly $695 billion over 10 years to provide all U.S. children with health insurance and increase access to coverage for adults, according to the text of a speech he is scheduled to deliver Tuesday, the AP/Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports. Clark said he would require parents by law to insure their children. To ease the costs, Clark said he would make families that earn up to five times the federal poverty limit eligible for a tax credit that they could use to help pay their children's insurance premiums. He also said that he would offer financial assistance to people in need of aid to buy health insurance, give incentives for disease prevention and look to cut costs with better efficiency (Pickler, AP/Fort Worth Star-Telegram, 10/28). Clark said he would repeal tax cuts for Americans who make more than $200,000 annually and use some of that money to improve veterans' health care and make education more affordable, which in turn could encourage students to pursue health care careers (Freking, Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, 10/28). Unlike some other Democratic candidates, including Sen. John Kerry (Mass.), former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean and Reps. Dick Gephardt (Mo.) and Dennis Kucinich (Ohio) -- all of whom endorse universal or near-universal health coverage plans -- Clark joins Sens. John Edwards (D-N.C.) and Joe Lieberman (D-Conn.) in proposing "alternatives that make more modest increases in coverage, but at a lower cost," according to the AP/Star-Telegram (AP/Fort Worth Star-Telegram, 10/28). Clark said, "We're the only developed country that has 43 million people without health insurance, and it's a scandal and I'm gonna fix it" (Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, 10/28).
In a conversation with the Detroit Free Press' editorial board on Monday, presidential candidate Carol Moseley Braun (D) said that the country's "irrational system" of paying for health care is "tanking urban budgets in many instances, state budgets in many instances and hobbling the private sector in terms of job creation." She said that in order to change the current system in which large businesses' "single biggest problem" is paying for health care and small businesses do not create more jobs because of health care costs, a single-payer system needs to be implemented. Moseley Braun said that a single-payer system that uses private insurance companies to administer the program could allow the government to keep its health care spending at its current 15% of the country's gross domestic product, "without paying another dime." Braun said that "if you fix just this one issue,... you would automatically give a boost to your economy." She concluded that health care "is truly the silver bullet in terms of the health of our economy" (Detroit Free Press, 10/28).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.