THE UNINSURED: Boehner Sees Opportunity in DLC Plan
Rep. John Boehner (R-Ohio) "seized on a Democratic Leadership Council proposal announced Thursday as evidence that Democrats should be able to support the GOP access package," which would allow tax relief for people who purchase their own health insurance or must carry most of the cost of their employer-provided coverage, CongressDaily/AM reports. Responding to a recent survey among registered voters which found that universal health insurance was a top public policy goal, the Democratic plan calls for the government to provide tax credits to individuals to purchase health insurance. The goal of the access plan is to reach universal coverage by moving away from an employer-based health care system toward individual ownership of health insurance. "The unveiling of this plan sends a strong signal that some Democrats share our belief that expanding access for America's 44 million uninsured is the most important patient protection of all," Boehner said. He added, "It reflects a growing consensus that access is the true cornerstone of health care reform, and I believe it could have an immediate impact on our deliberations."
New Door Opening?
A Republican aide working on the managed care conference committee, said, "We see a new door opening," regarding the possibility of a bipartisan marriage on the issue. He added, "This could do for health care access what (the alliance of) Dingell and Norwood did for the patients' bill of rights." But at the White House, senior aides said that President Clinton has "little appetite" for the Republican access provisions. Christopher Jennings, White House senior health care adviser, said, "The tax deductions included among the Republican so-called access provisions would cover extremely few Americans" (Koffler, 3/24).