President Bush Criticizes Kerry Health Care Plan as ‘Hillary Care’
President Bush on Monday in Iowa criticized the health care plan of Democratic presidential nominee Sen. John Kerry (Mass.) as "creeping toward 'Hillary Care,'" a reference to the failed health care reform efforts of Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) as first lady, the New York Times reports (Bumiller, New York Times, 10/5). Bush said, "My opponent believes that the federal government ought to be making your decisions." According to the Boston Globe, "Kerry's campaign disputed Bush's characterization of the Massachusetts Democrat's health plan as government-run" and said that his "proposal relies on employer incentives and tax credits, not government mandates, and is not a universal-access plan along the lines of Clinton's."
Bush campaign officials said that Republican lawmakers on Tuesday will appear on the Senate floor with a "flowchart mocking the government bureaucracy they predict would be created by Kerry's proposals," the Globe reports. The Bush campaign hopes that the "multifront attack" will help the president "regain momentum" and "lay the groundwork" for the next presidential debate -- scheduled for Friday in St. Louis -- which likely will focus on domestic issues, such as health care, the Globe reports (Klein/Kornblut, Boston Globe, 10/5).
The Bush campaign on Monday "suddenly changed plans" on a speech about medical liability reform scheduled for Wednesday in Pennsylvania, the Times reports. According to White House press secretary Scott McClellan, the Bush campaign postponed the speech to allow the president to deliver a "significant" address about "our nation's two highest priorities": the economy and terrorism.
According to the Times, polls have indicated that medical liability reform is "a far less potent issue" for Bush than terrorism (New York Times, 10/5).
Kerry on Monday in New Hampshire "fired back" at claims by Bush that he would raise taxes to cover the cost of his health care plan, and his campaign "disputed Bush's characterization" of the plan as "government-run," the Globe reports. "George Bush thinks it's important to make those tax cuts for people earning more than $200,000 a year permanent," Kerry said, adding, "I think it's important to roll that back to where it was under Bill Clinton and invest in health care" (Boston Globe, 10/5).
In an appearance with actor Michael J. Fox, who has Parkinson's disease, Kerry also said that Bush "turns his back on science" and promised to remove restrictions that the president has placed on federal funding for human embryonic stem cell research. Kerry later on Monday told stem cell research advocates in Pennsylvania, "When we have a president who dismisses scientists and turns his back on science, then we lose discovery, we lose innovation and the people who desperately need cures become the real losers" (Cox/Salt Lake Tribune, 10/5).
Teresa Heinz Kerry, the wife of Kerry, on Monday told a crowd of about 300 at a Teamsters hall in Pennsylvania that his health care plan would expand access to coverage and help control costs. Heinz Kerry, who has held several health care forums in the state, also said that her husband would advocate wellness and preventive health programs and control prescription drug prices. She added that the federal government, not states, should provide health insurance for children, which would allow states to provide coverage for uninsured adults.
"Health care is becoming unaffordable and, for many, nonaccessible. ... In America, we have to look not at the cost of medicine but the costs of what it prevents," Heinz Kerry said, adding, "Everyone understands we have to do something about the health care crisis" (Dyer, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 10/5).