Texas record shows Bush backs patients

The latest attacks by Al Gore on Governor George W. Bush’s healthcare plans are wrong, and students should know the truth about Bush’s healthcare proposals. On the issue of Medicare, Bush’s plan is to provide total coverage for all low-income seniors. Under the current Medicare program, many seniors have to choose between eating and prescriptions, but under Bush’s plan, this will no longer be the case. Bush’s proposal will cover the full cost of health coverage, including prescription drug coverage for seniors with incomes below $11,300 and below $15,200 for single seniors and married seniors respectively. Under the Gore plan, seniors will only have $5,000 of their health cost covered. Obviously, the Bush plan encompasses more low-income seniors and is exact and precise, not generalized like the Gore plan. Governor Bush cares about America’s senior citizens, and he is not going to let them get lost in the shuffle of Washington rhetoric.

Another misconception is Al Gore’s distortion of Bush’s record in Texas. The truth is, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, under Governor Bush the percentage of Texans without health coverage has gone down. Since 1994, the percentage of uninsured in the U.S. has grown while the percentage of uninsured in Texas has decreased. While Vice President Gore accuses Bush of not providing health care coverage to Texans, he fails to recognize that under the Clinton-Gore administration, the number of uninsured has increased. For example, according to the Census Bureau, there are 43 million uninsured in the United States, up 4 million since Bill Clinton and Al Gore were first elected in 1992.

Another attack that Al Gore has launched on Bush is that he has not made healthcare funding a priority. This attack is false and misleading. In 1999 alone, Governor Bush signed legislation allocating $1.8 billion in new health care incentives in addition to increasing the funding of existing programs. For example, $179 million of the funding went to establishing CHIPS – the Children’s Health Insurance Program – and $25 million went to community hospital improvements.

Al Gore has also attacked Bush on patient protection rights. Governor Bush’s record exemplifies an unwavering concern regarding patients’ rights. During his administration, he has signed six bills that have increased the rights patients have when dealing with their insurance companies or HMOs. One aspect of these bills was that several provisions removed a special interest loophole from a past bill that provided far less comprehensive patient protections. Also, one of these new laws made Texas the first state in the country to allow patients to appeal denials of care through an independent review process and take HMOs to court.

Through the information presented, it is obvious that the Bush plan clearly lays out how he intends to fund health care programs and how these programs will benefit the people of the United States. Al Gore has misconstrued Bush’s record in Texas, and he has continued his trend of making false accusations. Bush’s dedication to the people of Texas is a testament to how he will remain dedicated to the people of the United States when he is elected president.

-The writer is freshman representative for the GW College Republicans.

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