Rodham Clinton Outlines Health Care Affordability Plan
Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) on Monday outlined a Democratic campaign initiative that includes tax credits and incentives to make the cost of health care and other services more affordable for middle-class and low-income U.S. residents, the Washington Post reports. Rodham Clinton outlined the "American Dream Initiative" during a speech at the summer meeting of the Democratic Leadership Council.
Among other provisions, the initiative would require universal health insurance for children and would establish incentives for small businesses to lower the cost of coverage for employees.
Rodham Clinton said, "Democrats will work to get health care costs down" (Balz, Washington Post, 7/25). She added, "Once again, America needs to work for everyone, not just the privileged and the powerful" (AP/Washington Times, 7/25).
According to DLC President Bruce Reed, the initiative would cost $450 to $500 billion over 10 years (Washington Post, 7/25).
Mike McCurry, who served as White House press secretary from 1995 to 1998, on Monday said that Democrats might seek broad reforms to the current employer-based health care system in the event they take control of Congress after the midterm elections in November as a "prelude for 2008," CQ HealthBeat reports.
According to McCurry, who spoke at a forum presented by the American University Center for Congressional and Presidential Studies, "Democrats have really fought for health care for a long time at a higher level," although whether they would pass broad reforms during the 110th Congress remains unclear.
McCurry and Ari Fleischer, who served as White House press secretary from 2001 to 2003 and also spoke at the forum, agreed that passage of incremental health care reforms is more likely.
Fleischer cited some positive health care reforms implemented in the past decade, such as the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, the Medicare prescription drug benefit and increased funds for NIH and community health centers.
McCurry recommended that U.S. residents take more responsibility for their health and use public programs to help them. In addition, he said that the health care system should "reach people right now who maybe don't do what they need to be doing, which is take care of themselves and take care of their kids."
Pfizer sponsored the forum, titled "Ceasefire on Health Care," and former Sen. John Breaux (D-La.) moderated the event (Crowley, CQ HealthBeat, 7/24).