GEORGE W. BUSH: Vows to Fix Medicare, Backs Drug Benefit
Accepting the presidential nomination at the GOP National Convention yesterday, Texas Gov. George W. Bush (R) jabbed rival Vice President Al Gore and "spelled out ... his agenda for legislative action," including health care, the New York Times reports. Bush said, "[The Clinton-Gore] administration had its chance. They have not led. We will." He vowed to "repair Medicare," stressing the importance of a prescription drug benefit for seniors (Apple, 8/4). "We will set [Medicare] on firm financial ground and make prescription drugs available and affordable to every senior who needs them," Bush said. He also proposed a tax credit for low-income Americans to purchase "the private health care insurance they need and deserve." Promising to correct the failures of the Clinton-Gore administration, Bush concluded, "At times, we lost our way. But we're coming home" (Speech text, Washington Post, 8/4).
Frist on Heath Care Stump
Meanwhile, Sen. Bill Frist (R-Tenn.) gave a four-minute address on health care at the GOP Convention yesterday, calling for better access with less government regulation, the Chattanooga Times & Free Press reports. Frist said, "[T]he patient and the doctor must be at the heart of all medical decisions -- not some HMO bureaucrat." He also praised the health care reforms Bush implemented in Texas, touting Bush's ability to bring that leadership to the national stage. "Under George W. Bush's caring leadership, we will be able to guarantee the rights of all patients," Frist said, adding, "Only under his direction can we forge the bipartisan coalition necessary to strengthen Medicare. Under George W. Bush's tenure, seniors will no longer have to face the impossible choice between putting food on the table and paying for their medicines." Democrats, however, chided the proposed GOP Medicare reform plan, calling it "empty promises." According to Ellen Mellody, director of the Gore 2000 Southern Campaign, "It's flawed in several areas. Their plan leaves millions of seniors and disabled without coverage" (Commins, 8/4).