LA Times Examines Bush’s Role in Health Care
While a tightly divided Congress and the closeness of the election will likely "mute" President-elect George W. Bush's impact on "touchy pocketbook" issues, such as prescription drug coverage and patients' rights legislation, if Bush can reach agreement with Democrats, he may enact "significant" but "subtle" reforms to the nation's health care system, the Los Angeles Times reports. James Delaphene, vice president of retirement policy at the American Benefits Council, said, "There are basically two choices in situations like these -- compromise or an absolute absence of action." To cover America's 47 million uninsured residents, Bush has proposed providing tax credits for individuals and families to purchase health insurance and giving companies more tax incentives to offer coverage -- similar to the plan offered by Vice President Al Gore. The Times calls the issue the "only reform that probably will be achieved." Meanwhile, Democrats and Republicans have "less agreement" on key pocketbook issues such as prescription drug coverage and a patients' bill of rights, leading the Times to conclude that such reforms remain "unlikely" in the "near term" (Kristof/Weston, Los Angeles Times, 12/17).