News Release

Gore And Bradley: Health Care Plans — Or Scams?

Vice President Al Gore and former Senator Bill Bradley repeatedly sparred in last night’s debate over health care — but some analysts are criticizing both politicians’ policy prescriptions as serving the interests of insurance companies.

STEFFIE WOOLHANDLER, M.D.
Director of the Center for National Health Program Studies at Harvard, Dr. Woolhandler said: “In 1993 Clinton’s managed competition proposal rejected a single-payer system, putting most Americans into private HMOs. Bradley’s plan is actually a step to the right of that. Unlike Clinton, Bradley doesn’t aim to cover everyone — he admits at most 95 percent, though it would probably be less. Unlike Clinton, Bradley has no meaningful regulation of HMOs, which have been the source of much of our problems…”

IDA HELLANDER, M.D.
Executive director of Physicians for a National Health Program, Dr. Hellander co-wrote (with Woolhandler) the cover story “Wrong Prescription: Bill Bradley’s Health Plan Is No Cure” in the December 1999 issue of The Progressive. Hellander said today: “Basically Bradley wants to privatize Medicaid, turning hundreds of billions of dollars over to his friends in the HMOs. His plan actually came out of ideas from the right-wing Heritage Foundation. The plan is unlikely to decrease the number of uninsured, currently growing at 100,000 people per month. Contrary to Bradley’s rhetoric, this is an incremental approach which doesn’t work in health care — witness the failure of Kennedy-Kassebaum and the Clinton ‘Children’s Health Insurance Plan’ to cover more people. Such approaches further tempt employers to drop coverage for workers and their families, particularly if we face a recession. Bradley sounds progressive, talking about universal coverage and helping poor children, but in fact there is not a Democratic candidate who is serious about health care for all.”
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QUENTIN YOUNG, M.D.
National Coordinator of Physicians for a National Health Program and clinical professor of preventive medicine at the University of Illinois, Dr. Young has been in contact with representatives from Bradley’s campaign. Young says: “They acknowledged that the program we outlined — single-payer national health insurance — was the better plan; it would cover everyone, including the 45 million currently uninsured, for less money than we spend now. Instead, Bradley adopted a voucher scheme which is inadequate and deceptive… Ironically, Gore is attacking this plan from the right, saying that it will bust the budget. Neither of them address the real issues: runaway profits resulting from reckless market medicine — and some criminal behavior — that have increased costs, decreased access and quality.”
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For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy: Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; David Zupan, (541) 484-9167