PLATFORM: Democrats’ Document Features Health Care
The Democratic party platform was wholeheartedly approved yesterday at the Democratic National Convention, showing no indication of the lengthy debates and amendments that took place "away from the limelight" and well before the convention, the AP/Baltimore Sun reports. The platform closely follows Gore's agenda, favoring a "more ambitious and expensive" role for the federal government in dealing with issues such as a prescription drug benefit for Medicare and expanded health coverage for children (8/16).
- "Universal Health Coverage." True to its theme that "we must move forward together and we must not leave anyone behind," the platform highlights the need for universal health coverage, urging the expansion of health coverage to working families and increased Medicaid assistance to aid in the transition from welfare to employment. It calls for guaranteed access to affordable health care for all American children; expanded access to care for dislocated workers; and affordable coverage available to small businesses.
- "Protecting and Strengthening Medicare." The platform singles out the need for improved access to medication for elderly Americans, "an essential step in making sure that the best new cures and therapies are available to our seniors." The platform also states, "With the number of Americans on Medicare expected to double in the next 35 years, Al Gore has stepped up and taken responsibility by proposing a Medicare lock box that would ensure Medicare surpluses are used for Medicare -- and not for pork barrel spending or tax giveaways." To keep Medicare costs down, the platform advocates "promoting competitive prices" and curbing Medicare fraud.
- "Patients' Rights." Addressing managed care reform, the platform states, "Americans need a real, enforceable patients' bill of rights with the right to see a specialist, the right to appeal decisions to an outside board, guaranteed coverage of emergency room care and the right to sue when they are unfairly denied coverage."
- "Choice." The platform champions a woman's right to choose an abortion "regardless of ability to pay." It states, "Our goal is to make abortion less necessary and more rare, not more difficult and more dangerous. We support contraceptive research, family planning, comprehensive family life education and policies that support healthy childbearing" (Platform text, New York Times, 8/16).