Gore plan offers solutions for young and old
Few issues impact everyone’s life the way healthcare does. Senior citizens worry about paying for prescription drugs. Parents worry about their children’s care. In every community an HMO has denied someone coverage. Vice President Al Gore offers a clear plan that increases the availability of healthcare without destroying the quality care that makes America unique.
Millions of Americans battle their HMOs every year. For a healthcare bean counter, the bottom line is more important than a patient’s life. It is almost impossible for the average citizen to stand up to their HMO. The Patients Bill of Rights will allow the patient to challenge their HMO for the coverage they deserve. Congressman Charlie Norwood (R-GA) said of this bill, Since 1974, this Congress has given HMOs a free pass to deny promised benefits without any legal responsibility for the damages that they do and have caused. With the passage of this bill, there will finally be accountability for the HMOs.
The Patients Bill of Rights accomplishes more than simply allowing for accountability. Access to emergency rooms is increased, and it allows people to see specialists when necessary. This bill will also allow doctors to make the medical decisions not bean counters. Support for this measure crosses party lines. Senator John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Reps. Chris Shays (R-Conn.) and Bob Barr (R-Ga.) have all put patients above partisan interest. Al Gore is the only presidential candidate who supports this bipartisan measure.
For many seniors, the cost of prescription drugs has forced them to make too many tough choices. According to the Democratic Policy Committee, one in eight seniors must choose between food and drugs. A study by Families USA reports the cost of prescription drugs has risen four times faster than the rate of inflation. We must take action now. With more Americans living past the age of 65, the problem will only get worse. The vice president presents a plan to provide seniors the coverage they need and deserve. The Gore-Lieberman plan will cover 50 percent of drug costs and up to $5,000 annually. This will allow thousands of seniors to choose what they eat not if they eat.
The Gore-Lieberman plan reaches out to the uninsured, especially children. Unfortunately almost 40 states are not spending the money they are given to help children. If elected, the Gore administration would increase funding and eligibility for the Children’s Health Insurance Program. It allows parents to buy into the CHIP program with a quarter of the cost being tax deductible. This plan will make sure the unspent money will not go to waste and will help children.
This election will give voters the chance to make their voice heard on healthcare. The Gore-Lieberman ticket has presented a healthcare plan to help all Americans. They will reach across party lines to work with Republicans to curb the power of HMOs. No longer will seniors be forced to choose between medicine and food if Al Gore is elected president. This is a choice no person should make. The Gore plan is comprehensive in who benefits. It is a plan that helps to solve our nation’s healthcare problems.
-The writer is a sophomore majoring in political science and a member of the GW College Democrats.