Senate Candidates on Health Issues
Election Day is here! Today, California Healthline examines the race for California's Senate seat between challenger Rep. Tom Campbell (R) and incumbent Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D). Here are their viewpoints on the issues:
Prescription drug coverage. Campbell favors a Medicare prescription drug benefit, but only for "those most in need first." He also supports a plan that would allow Medicare beneficiaries to "choose a first-dollar co-payment option up to about $700, rather than having to pay Part B or Medigap premiums." Feinstein supports a Medicare prescription drug benefit that is voluntary, affordable, and covers all beneficiaries. Feinstein advocates the use of private sector entities to negotiate competitive prescription drug prices. She believes that such a benefit should be funded through the non-Social Security budget surplus and beneficiary co-payments and premiums.
Medicare reform. Campbell favors allowing Medicare beneficiaries to keep a portion of the money they save by reducing medical costs and by creating health-IRAs to save for health care needs. Campbell also advocates either a cap on the amount the federal government pays for each procedure or a state-by-state maximum annual cap for federal payments. Feinstein advocates using the non-Social Security budget surplus to shore up the Medicare trust fund.
Patients' bill of rights. Campbell opposed the House-passed Norwood-Dingell patients' bill of rights because the Congressional Budget Office estimated that the bill would result in premium increases of more than 4%. Feinstein "strongly support[s]" the Norwood-Dingell patients' bill of rights. She advocates a patients' bill of rights that ensures emergency room treatment without prior authorization; access to specialists; access to obstetricians and gynecologists without authorization; access to drugs not on a plan's formulary if they are medically necessary; continuity of care for at least 90 days if a physician terminates his or her contract with a health plan; coverage of routine clinical trials; and access to internal and external review processes.
- The uninsured. Campbell suggests reforming the Medicaid system to ensure that the federal government assists states in providing "some absolute minimum of coverage." Campbell proposes using the federal government's bargaining power to contract with managed care providers on a regional basis for capitated fees in the Medicaid program. Campbell advocates a graduated, income-dependent eligibility for the program. Feinstein supports expanding access for Medicaid and SCHIP and favors a program that would extend CHIP coverage to parents of children enrolled in the program. She co-sponsored legislation that would allow families with a disabled child to buy into Medicaid even if they do not meet the eligibility requirements. Feinstein also co-sponsored legislation that would allow people with disabilities to enter the workforce without risk of losing Medicaid or Medicare benefits (California Journal supplement, 10/00).
For more information on Campbell, visit his Web site at www.campbell.org/. For more information on Feinstein, visit her Web site at www.diannefeinstein.com/. For complete Election 2000 information, go to www.healthcounts2000.org/. Healthcounts 2000 is a partnership between the California HealthCare Foundation, KVIE-TV's California CapitolWeek, the Sacramento Bee, the California Journal and La Opinion, designed to provide information about health care issues that are playing a role in this year's election.
This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.