Kerry Criticizes Bush Health Care Policies in Campaign Speech
In a campaign appearance Wednesday in Rochester, Minn., Democratic presidential nominee Sen. John Kerry (Mass.) said his first act as president would be to offer health coverage to all children and to give all U.S. residents the option of buying into the Federal Employee Health Benefits Program, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reports. Kerry said that unlike President Bush's proposal, his plan would permit the reimportation of lower-cost prescription drugs from Canada.
He added, "George Bush went out of his way to sign a bill that prohibits you from buying [prescription drugs] in Canada. They prohibited you from having lower-cost drugs. That's W, the wrong choice." Bush campaign Policy Director Megan Hauck in an interview on Wednesday reiterated the president's call for limiting jury awards in medical malpractice cases. Bush also has proposed expanding community and rural health centers and identifying families eligible but not enrolled in government health insurance programs (Schmickle, Minneapolis Star Tribune, 9/9).
In related news, CQ HealthBeat News on Wednesday examined the Bush health care proposal. The plan "builds on familiar Bush proposals," such as association health plans and health savings accounts, and includes a proposal to spend $1 billion over two years on outreach to children who are eligible for Medicaid or the SCHIP programs, according to CQ HealthBeat News (Reichard, CQ HealthBeat News, 9/8).
Almost 66% of Pennsylvania voters say they are unsatisfied with the cost of health care and health insurance, and 44% say that health care has become worse in recent years, according to a survey released Wednesday, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports. According to the survey of 1,252 adults conducted by researchers from Princeton Survey Research Associates International and IssuesPA/Pew, about 66% of state voters favor limiting jury awards for pain and suffering in medical malpractice lawsuits. The survey also found that 31% of state voters believe malpractice lawsuits are the largest factor behind rising health care costs. Further, 26% of state residents said someone in their family has had to change doctors in the past year because of rising malpractice costs (Snowbeck, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 9/9).
The survey "underscores how central health care has become to many voters and how it is likely to be a paramount issue in the presidential campaign," according to the Philadelphia Inquirer (Uhlman, Philadelphia Inquirer, 9/9). It also indicates that "health care will be a bigger issue in the upcoming presidential election in Pennsylvania than it will be in other states," according Larry Huglick, one of the survey researchers (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 9/9). The poll is available online.