GEORGE W. BUSH I: GOP Candidate to Unveil Health Plan
Responding to weeks of criticism by opponent Vice President Al Gore about his lack of a health care plan, Texas Gov. George W. Bush (R) is set today to release a detailed Medicare reform proposal, the Wall Street Journal reports (Murray, 9/5). Stumping in Allentown, Pa., Bush will unveil a $158 billion plan that would allocate $110 billion over 10 years to "modernize" Medicare, while the remaining $48 billion would go to states over the next four years as part of a short term plan to help seniors pay for prescription drugs. If elected, Bush would implement the "Immediate Helping Plan" in 2001, which would cover all prescription drug costs for seniors earning up to 135% of the poverty level; and part of the costs for those earning more. The long term, $110 billion plan would guarantee current Medicare benefits; offer Medicare beneficiaries a choice of modern health plans, including drug coverage; cover the full cost of Medicare premiums for seniors at or below 135% of the poverty level and subsidize costs for seniors between 135% to 175% of the poverty level. Bush's plan also covers catastrophic costs in excess of $6,000 annually for all seniors and would pay 25% of premium costs for seniors above 175% of the poverty level (Gullo, AP/Chicago Tribune, 9/5). In addition to the prescription drug benefit plan and the Medicare overhaul, Bush is proposing a $2,000 refundable tax credit for low-income families to purchase health insurance (Enda, Knight Ridder/Lexington Herald-Leader, 9/5). The Bush proposal is likely to "sharpen the debate over health care" as it differs widely from Gore's $253 billion plan to add a prescription drug benefit to Medicare (AP/Chicago Tribune, 9/5).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.