President Highlights Ideas for Health Care Reform in Radio Talk
President Bush during his weekly radio address on Saturday promoted his proposal to offer a standard tax deduction for health insurance, Bloomberg/Bergen Record reports. Bush said the "market-based principles" at work in the Medicare prescription drug benefit also could be used to help improve U.S. residents' access to health insurance (Bloomberg/Bergen Record, 2/25).
According to the AP/San Francisco Chronicle, Bush "focused his attention again on the topic after a recent government report projected that health care spending would double by the year 2016."
In his radio address, Bush said that the existing tax policy unfairly benefits those who obtain insurance through their employers and penalizes those who obtain health insurance in the individual market. Bush said, "When it comes to health care, everyone should get the same tax breaks."
Earlier this month, Bush held a roundtable in Chattanooga, Tenn., to promote his tax proposal, which would offer a standard tax deduction of $7,500 for individuals and $15,000 for families who purchase health insurance.
Bush on Saturday also reiterated his proposal to provide support for states that introduce new ways to offer health insurance. Under his proposal, states that establish a basic health plan for all residents would be given access to "affordable choice grants," which would be funded with money that currently reimburses providers for charity care.
Bush in his address said, "By taking existing federal funds and turning them into affordable choice grants, we will give America's governors more money and more flexibility, so they can help provide private health insurance for those who need it most" (AP/San Francisco Chronicle, 2/24).