Editorial Calls For ‘Centrist Health Reform’
Citing President-elect Bush's Texas record, a Los Angeles Times editorial states that Bush "has yet to prove himself as a health care leader." However, the editorial praises Bush for surrounding himself with health care advisers who articulate "bold and often sensible reforms" and argues that there are several health care proposals on which Bush and congressional Democrats can find "common ground" on "urgently needed reforms." It urges Democrats to postpone their intention to push for a "controversial" HMO reform bill that contains right-to-sue provisions, and instead to focus on the following three "centrist health reform[s]":
- First, pass a "pro-work, pro-family and pro-taxpayer" bill (S 2274) sponsored by Sens. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) and Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.) that "would allow the families of children with disabilities to be covered by Medicaid," thereby preventing the "current, perverse system" in which parents of these children who leave welfare for work lose their children's Medicaid coverage.
- Second, improve health care "quality assurance systems," such as the Pennsylvania reforms led by Bush's "reputed first choice for Treasury secretary," retired Alcoa Chair Paul O'Neill, that directed "public money only to hospitals that allow detailed scrutiny of their safety records."
- Third, pass catastrophic prescription drug coverage for seniors, an issue on which there is general agreement despite the disagreement between Republicans and Democrats on how to provide senior drug coverage in general.
The editorial concludes, by stating that Bush "deserves every chance to succeed, and there is plenty of common ground on which to build solid reform" (Los Angeles Times, 12/20).
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