More headlines: John Kerry on Health Care

(Following are older quotations. Click here for main quotations.)

Bush has turned his back on the wellness of America

KERRY: Bush has turned his back on the wellness of America. And there is no system. In fact, itís starting to fall apart not because of lawsuits, though they are a problem and John Edwards and I are committed to fixing them, but because of the larger issue that we donít cover Americans. Children across our country donít have health care. Weíre the richest country on the face of the planet, the only industrialized nation in the world not to do it. I have a plan to cover all Americans. Weíre going to make it affordable and accessible, and let everybody buy into the same health care plan senators and congressmen give themselves.

BUSH: A plan is not a litany of complaints and not to lay out programs that you canít pay for. The same plan that senators and congressmen get costs the government $7,700 per family. If every family in America signed up like the senator suggested it would cost us $5 trillion over 10 years. Itís an empty promise. Itís called bait and switch.

Source: Third Bush-Kerry Debate, in Tempe Arizona Oct 13, 2004

Bush blocked drugs importation and Medicare bulk purchasing

Health-care costs are getting higher. One of the principal reasons is that the Bush administration has stood in the way of common-sense efforts that would have reduced the costs. In the Senate we passed the right of Americans to import drugs from Canada. But Bush and his friends took it out in the House, and now you donít have that right. Bush blocked you from the right to have less expensive drugs from Canada. We also wanted Medicare to be able to negotiate bulk purchasing. We could have done that in Medicare. Medicare is paid for by the American taxpayer. Medicare is for seniors, who many of them are on fixed income, to lift them out of poverty. But rather than help you, the taxpayer, have lower cost, rather than help seniors have less expensive drugs, Bush made it illegal- illegal! -for Medicare to actually go out and bargain for lower prices. Result: $139 billion windfall profit to the drug companies coming out of your pockets. Thatís a large part of your 17% increase in Medicare premiums.
Source: Third Bush-Kerry debate, in Tempe AZ Oct 13, 2004

Kerryís healthcare plan lets people choose their plan

Q: Where are you going to get the money to extend health-care coverage to children?

A: Two leading national news networks have both said Bushís characterization of my health-care plan is incorrect. One called it fiction. The other called it untrue. The fact is that my health-care plan, America, is very simple. It gives you the choice. I donít force you to do anything. Itís not a government plan. The government doesnít require you to do anything. You choose your doctor. You choose your plan. If you donít want to take the offer of the plan that I want to put forward, you donít have do. You can keep what you have today, keep a high deductible, keep high premiums, keep a high co-pay, keep low benefits. Hereís what I do: We take over Medicaid children from the states so that every child in America is covered. And in exchange, if the states want to-theyíre not forced to, they can choose to-they cover individuals up to 300 percent of poverty. Itís their choice.

Source: Third Bush-Kerry debate, in Tempe AZ Oct 13, 2004

Bush hasnít fully funded the VA hospitals and Medicare

KERRY: Bush said government-run health care results in poor quality. Maybe that explains why he hasnít fully funded the VA and the VA hospital is having trouble and veterans are complaining. Maybe that explains why Medicare patients are complaining about being pushed off of Medicare. He doesnít adequately fund it. I am not proposing a government-run program. Thatís not what I have. I have Blue Cross/Blue Shield. Senators and congressmen have a wide choice. Americans ought to have it too.

BUSH: Talk about the VA: Weíve increased VA funding by $22 billion in the four years since Iíve been president. Thatís twice the amount that my predecessor increased VA funding. Of course weíre meeting our obligation to our veterans, and the veterans know that. Weíre expanding veteransí health care throughout the country. Weíre aligning facilities where the veterans live now. Veterans are getting very good health care under my administration, and they will continue to do so during the next four years.

Source: Third Bush-Kerry debate, in Tempe AZ Oct 13, 2004

FactCheck: Bushís plan yields $13B for big pharma, not $139B

KERRY: Bushís Medicare prescription drug benefit put $139 billion of windfall profit into the pockets of the drug companies right out of your pockets.

Kerry bases his claim on one disputed study by two Bush critics, Boston University researchers Alan Sager and Deborah Socolar, who concluded that 35% of the $400 billion cost that was projected at the time-or $139 billion-would be ďwindfall profitsĒ to drug companies. Their findings are contradicted by a study in March 2004 commissioned by the Pacific Research Institute, which describes itself as a ďfree-market think tank.Ē They estimated drug company profits much lower-from an increase of 3.2% ($13 billion) to a possible decline of 1%. The two studies make starkly different assumptions about whether the new drug benefit will cause seniors to buy a lot more medication thereby increasing sales, and also about the extent to which competition among different drug plans will force drug companies to offer rebates and discounts to get the business.

Source: Analysis of second Bush-Kerry debate by FactCheck 2004 Oct 10, 2004

Bush said in 2000 that re-importation from Canada was OK

Four years ago, right here in this forum, Bush was asked the same question: Canít people be able to import drugs from Canada? Do you know what he said? I think that makes sense; I think thatís a good idea. Now he said Iím not blocking that. Bush just didnít level with you right now again. He did block it because we passed it in the US Senate, we sent it over to the House, that you could import drugs. We took care of the safety issues. Weíre not talking about third-world drugs, weíre talking about drugs made right here in the US that have American brand names on them in American bottles, and weíre asking that he be able to allow you to get them. Bush blocked it. He also took Medicare, which belongs to you, and he could have lowered the cost of Medicare and lowered your taxes and lowered the cost to seniors. He made it illegal, illegal for Medicare to do what the VA does, which is bulk-purchase drugs so that you can lower the price and get them out to you lower.
Source: Second Bush-Kerry Debate, in St. Louis MO Oct 8, 2004

Bush chose a tax cut over health care

KERRY: He put $139 billion of windfall profit into the pockets of the drug companies right out of your pockets. Thatís the difference between us. Bush sides with the power companies, the oil companies, the drug companies; and Iím fighting to let you get those drugs from Canada and Iím fighting to let Medicare survive. Iím fighting for the middle class.

BUSH: If theyíre safe, theyíre coming. I want to remind you that it wasnít just my administration that made the decision on safety. Clinton did the sam thing because we have an obligation to protect you. Kerryís been in the US Senate 20 years. Show me one accomplishment toward Medicare that he accomplished. Iíve been in Washington 3-1/2 years and led the Congress to reform Medicare so our seniors have got a modern health care system.

KERRY: In 1997 we fixed Medicare, and I was one of the people involved in it. We not only fixed Medicare and took it way out into the future; we did something that you donít know how to do, we balanced the budget.

Source: Second Bush-Kerry Debate, in St. Louis MO Oct 8, 2004

Bush has no plan to address the health care crisis

Rising health care costs have forced businesses to slow hiring and shift jobs to part-time and temporary workers, many of whom lack health insurance. Yet Bush has no plan to address any of these challenges. The few proposals he has offered would actually make the health care crisis worse by further dividing the system between one that is affordable for the healthy and wealthy, and one that is unaffordable for the elderly, the sick, and increasingly, for Americaís broad middle class.
Source: Our Plan For America, p. 99 Aug 10, 2004

Donít push seniors into HMOs; change Bush Rx plan

Q: How, if at all, would you change the new prescription drug benefit for the elderly?

A: I will change the benefit so that it: rewards employers who are offering retiree health benefits rather than undermining them; does not push seniors into HMOs; includes real cost containment and improves protections for low-income Americans.

Source: Associated Press policy Q&A, ďMedicareĒ Jan 25, 2004

Tax cut of $550 billion would cut Medicare

They donít want to defend their tax cut of $550 billion, and they donít want to tell people the truth about what will happen to Medicare, which DíAmato said would be cut if their tax cut passes. Thatís why he wants to talk about everything else in this race, because he canít defend going to Washington, helping the rich and the wealthy and the corporations over the working people of this country.
Source: KERRY/WELD: HOME STRETCH, Oct 25, 1996

FactCheck: Kerryís plan covers 92%, not 100% of Americans

FACT CHECK: Kerry closed by saying ďI have a plan to provide health care to all Americans.Ē He doesnít. His plan would extend coverage to between 24 and 27 million Americans who donít have it now, depending on which estimate one chooses. But none of the estimates predict ďallĒ would be insured. A study by the independent Lewin Group, for example, projects that 92% would have coverage, up from just under 86% in 2003.
Source: Analysis of second Bush-Kerry debate by FactCheck 2004 Oct 10, 2004

Created catastrophic health insurance and withdrew it

What we did was create catastrophic health insurance and what we did was pay for prescriptions for seniors who canít pay for them. Then we found that the formula didnít work as was anticipated and we withdrew it.
Source: Kerry/Weld Search For Votes, Jul 3, 1996

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