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George W. Bush On The Issues 2000

George W. Bush 2000 On The Issues

Health Care and the Uninsured

There are 43 million uninsured Americans – 4 million more than when the current Administration took office. Governor Bush will reverse this trend by making health insurance affordable for hard-working, low-income families. His plan will provide them with a $2,000 refundable health credit so that they can choose health plans and physicians that fit their needs. He will also make it easier for small businesses, which employ 60 percent of the uninsured, to obtain lower cost insurance through associations. Finally, Governor Bush will remove federal regulations that restrict state flexibility in designing and implementing programs for the uninsured.  Governor Bush will put the consumer, not the government, in charge of health care decisions.

Governor Bush’s Approach

Make Health Insurance Affordable: Families caught between poverty and prosperity make up the largest segment of the uninsured.  In fact, 80 percent of the uninsured are working Americans or their dependents.  This number is driving the dramatic increase in the uninsured since 1993.  Governor Bush believes these families should have the opportunity to purchase a health plan of their own – a basic plan that includes hospitalization and physician benefits, and a discounted prescription drug.

Help Small Businesses: Almost 60 percent of all workers without health insurance are employed by small businesses.  The high price these businesses must pay for health insurance is often passed on to their employees, who, in turn, cannot afford the coverage.  Since the road to the middle class is often through employment with small businesses, which provide 65 percent of workers with their first job, Governor Bush is committed to making health insurance more affordable for these businesses and their employees.

Remove Regulatory Barriers for the States: The 1997 State Children’s Health Insurance Program (S-CHIP) was intended to be a flexible block grant program, designed to allow states to expand Medicaid and/or develop new private sector programs to cover the 7.2 million uninsured children in families with incomes under 200 percent of the poverty level. However, federal regulations have limited states’ ability to innovate. Governor Bush will lift these restrictions so that states can develop 21st century health care delivery systems.

Empower Individuals: Governor Bush believes that people should have every opportunity to manage more of their own health care needs.  He will empower individuals with greater freedom of choice by lifting the artificial restrictions on Health Flexible Savings Accounts and Medical Savings Accounts.

Governor Bush’s Proposals

To help individuals and families afford quality health care, Governor Bush will:

Offer a Refundable Health Credit: Families that don’t qualify for Medicaid and other government assistance and who don’t get insurance through their employer, will be offered a $2,000 health credit ($1000 for individuals) to assist in purchasing a basic health insurance plan.  Those most in need will receive the most help:

  • For example, if a family earning $30,000 purchases a health insurance plan costing $2,222, the government will contribute $2,000 (90 percent), and the family will pay just $18.50 per month ($222 annually, or 10 percent).

  • If a family earning $50,000 purchases the same $2,222 health plan, the government’s contribution will be $667, and the family’s contribution will be $129 a month ($1,555 annually, or 70 percent).

    Permit Small Businesses to Purchase Association Health Plans: In order to make health insurance more affordable for small businesses, Governor Bush supports allowing these companies to purchase health plans from multi-state trade associations, such as the Chamber of Commerce, so that they can enjoy the same economies of scale that large employers have and realize the significant savings that group purchasing brings.

    Strengthen S-CHIP: Governor Bush supports lifting restrictions on state flexibility so that States have the freedom to implement creative solutions for expanded coverage of the uninsured under S-CHIP.  His Administration will work in partnership with states – not act as a roadblock –to state innovation.

    Empower Individuals with Greater Freedom of Choice: Governor Bush supports expanding and reforming two innovative health care options for individuals: Medical Savings Accounts and Flexible Savings Accounts.  By removing many of the structural design flaws and tax disincentives, individuals will have greater freedom of choice and be empowered to make their own health care choices.

    Texas Record

    Expanded Access to Health Insurance for Children
  • Governor Bush signed legislation to create the Children’s Health Insurance Program as well as an optional, parallel program for immigrant children. These two programs will ensure that 423,000 Texas children will receive health insurance.

    Directed Additional Funding for Health Care Programs
  • In 1999, Governor Bush directed an additional $1.8 billion dollars to health care initiatives in Texas.  This is in addition to the over $4 billion that is already spent on health care for the uninsured.

    Created endowments for public health initiatives, including:
  • Tobacco education programs aimed at teaching children and young adults about the risks associated with tobacco use, and funding for enforcement activities aimed at restricting youth access to tobacco.  
  • Emergency medical services and trauma care, including funds that support the Texas’ Community and Hospital based system, which ensures that no Texan goes without health care.

    Led the nation in adopting a strong Patients’ Bill of Rights including:
  • Allowing patients to appeal HMO decisions to an independent review panel and in some cases sue their HMO if they are hurt by a health care treatment decision.
  • Giving women direct access to their obstetricians and gynecologists and ensuring women will be covered for a minimum of 48-hours in the hospital after childbirth.
  • Requiring health plans that cover mastectomy or related procedures to allow patients 48 hours inpatient care following a mastectomy and coverage for reconstructive surgery after a mastectomy.
  • Ensuring doctor choice by giving employees the right to choose their own doctor, even outside their health plan, so long as they are willing to pay additional costs of that coverage.

Source: George W. Bush for President 2000 Web Site


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