DENNIS HASTERT: Criticizes White House in Post
In a Washington Post op-ed, House Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.) writes that he and his colleagues in Congress are "fighting to make health care insurance affordable and available to the American people ... [and] to give the American people more health care choices," while the Clinton administration "seems intent on getting nationalized health care through the back door by steadily taking health care choices away from the American people." Responding to an Oct. 18 Post editorial, "True Colors on Health Care" -- which he calls "sadly misinformed" -- Hastert criticizes the Clinton administration for having "fought every effort of Congress to give people more health care choices." The "determined effort" of the White House to block congressional legislation "has resulted in our current crisis," Hastert writes, charging that under Clinton, the number of Americans "who don't have access to quality health insurance has increased by 5 million." Hastert then outlines the various efforts he and other members of Congress have made for health care reform. He notes that Republicans have proposed increasing access to medical savings accounts as a means to "give incentives to younger Americans to get health insurance" and says that allowing individuals to write off the entire cost of health care on their taxes "would help 26 million Americans better afford health care." Hastert also says that the GOP is working for a "balanced patients' bill of rights that will make health maintenance organizations more accountable while making sure that the problem of the uninsured is not exacerbated." On Medicare reforms, Hastert writes that Congress has proposed more money for Medicare "so seniors have access to health care choices," while the Clinton administration has "slashed funding" for the program. Hastert concludes, "The Clinton administration has shown its true colors on health care time and again. It is determined to have the government make health care decisions for all Americans, one way or the other" (Hastert, Washington Post, 10/20).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.