HARMAN/KUYKENDALL: 36th District Candidates on Health Issues
Prior to the election, California Healthline is profiling the health care views of candidates in some of the state's key races. Today, CHL examines the race for California's 36th Congressional District (Los Angeles County) between former Rep.
Jane Harman (D) and incumbent Rep. Steve Kuykendall (R).
Prescription drug coverage: Harman supports adding a prescription drug benefit to Medicare, as well as measures to lower prescription drug prices by "enhancing market competition and creating incentives to develop generic drugs" (Harman campaign Web site). Kuykendall advocates prescription drug coverage that includes "a low-income benefit and a catastrophic benefit" and opposes price controls on prescription drugs. He supports legislation that would "set aside $40 billion in the budget from non-Social Security surpluses" and would "consider" asking seniors to pay a "nominal premium or co-pay" (California Journal supplement, 10/00).
Medicare reform: Harman would devote a "significant portion" of the current budget surplus to paying down the public debt, with the remainder going to "shoring up Medicare" and adding a prescription drug benefit. Kuykendall hopes to "preserve the revenues generated by the Medicare payroll taxes for use only by Medicare" and advocates "continuous vigorous oversight" to combat Medicare fraud and abuse (California Journal supplement, 10/00).
Patients' bill of rights: Harman supports HR 2723, the bipartisan Norwood-Dingell patients' bill of rights that "offered an opportunity to give patients and their doctors, not HMO bureaucrats, control over treatment decisions," and opposes the "watered-down alternative" (California Journal supplement, 10/00). Kuykendall does not support the Norwood-Dingell bill, but endorses the right to seek emergency treatment without prior authorization, the right to sue HMOs after independent review (if the managed care organization refused to follow the board's direction) and holding managed care organizations accountable for "decisions that effectively denied medical treatment." He does not support expanded legal liability to employers "because it would ... increas[e] health care costs while forcing a major source of health care -- employers -- to stop providing insurance coverage" (
Kuykendall Web site).
- The uninsured: Harman believes the CHIP program should be expanded to cover more children, as well as the parents of CHIP-eligible children, and would dedicate more state and federal resources toward public hospitals and clinics. Kuykendall proposes a health insurance tax deduction, with self-employed people deducting the full cost of their health insurance premiums. He also supports "pooling opportunities" for "small businesses to band together to purchase health insurance for their employees." (California Journal supplement, 10/00).
For more information on Harman, visit her Web site at www.janeharman2000.net. For more information on Kuykendall, visit his Web site at
www.house.gov/kuykendall/.com. For complete Election 2000 information, go to HealthVote 2000. HealthVote 2000 is a partnership between the California HealthCare Foundation, KVIE-TV's California CapitolWeek, the Sacramento Bee, the
California Journal and La Opinion designed to provide information about health care issues that are playing a role in this year's election.
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.