Bill Bradley on Health Care

2000 Democratic Primary Challenger for President


Health care should assure Americans that they are cared for

Today, forty-four million Americans lack access to basic health care, and many more with insurance worry about being able to see their preferred doctors. I don’t believe that it’s in our national character to let so many men, women, and children live with the fear that they are one serious illness or injury away from financial ruin.

Health care serves as a foundation of our individual and shared lives. Health care is about assuring working people that they won’t be locked into jobs they dislike because of their insurance coverage. Health care is about assuring uninsured Americans that they won’t have to wait until an ailment is so bad that they have to rush to the emergency room. Health care is about assuring all Americans that their race or gender or income or address won’t be a factor in determining whether they have a chance for a healthy start in life. Health care is about strengthening America by strengthening each one of us-one person, one family, one community at a time.

Source: The Journey From Here, by Bill Bradley, p. 24 , Aug 15, 2000

Mandatory insurance for children, at birth, federally paid

When we enacted Medicare, we made a bold commitment to senior citizens. We need to make a similar commitment to our children. To fulfill this commitment, every child should be enrolled in a health insurance program from the moment of birth. Just as new parents must fill out a birth certificate and a Social Security form before leaving the hospital, they should also be required to enroll their newborn in one of the many children’s health insurance plans. Children who slip through the cracks could be enrolled at their first point of contact with the health care system, at day care, or upon entry to school.

I believe the federal government should pay all or part of the health insurance costs for children in families with incomes under $50,000 a year. That’s about 54% of all children, including millions from middle-income families who worry constantly about medical costs.

Source: The Journey From Here, by Bill Bradley, p. 30 , Aug 15, 2000

The disabled should not be punished for working

Q: What would you do for disabled people who want to work and need to keep their federal health benefits?
A: The most important thing is to make sure that they won’t lose their health care because a national government is standing behind them and making sure that they get health care. Disabled Americans [should] be able to earn money and not lose their coverage. I think that the most important thing is to also recognize the disabled as not being a kind of special population.
Source: Democrat debate in Los Angeles , Mar 1, 2000

Pledges better health plan for every Medicaid patient

GORE [to Bradley]: 50% of all of the Americans who have HIV/AIDS now get Medicaid; 90% of all the children with HIV/AIDS get Medicaid. Bradley’s proposal would eliminate the Medicaid program and replace it with a $150-a-month voucher with which you cannot purchase anything like the health care benefits that are now available under Medicaid.

BRADLEY: [For AIDS patients under my plan], it’s the same services, it’s the same benefits. The only difference is that now if you have HIV, you can qualify for insurance. And tonight I pledge that any health care bill that I would sign would have every Medicaid patient on a better health plan than Medicaid is today.

GORE: That’s not a plan, that’s a magic wand. It doesn’t work that way, because the problem that people with AIDS and other diseases have in the private health insurance market is that the insurance companies don’t want to take them. They want to get rid of them. You give them a $150-a-month voucher, they can’t buy it.

Source: (X-ref from Gore) Democrat debate in Harlem, NYC , Feb 21, 2000

Help HIV-infected with Ryan White Act and health centers

Q: What would you do to help combat to AIDS epidemic in the minority communities? A: I would fully fund the Ryan White Act, because I think that is of special importance. In my health care program, I have allocated a very large sum of money to community health clinics and community health centers, which is where a lot of the minority population could get treated. I also have passed, suggested a health care bill that would allow HIV-positive people to be able to get access to health care.
Source: Democrat debate in Harlem, NYC , Feb 21, 2000

“Outrageous scare tactics” on Medicare’s HIV treatment

Gore claimed yesterday that Bradley’s health care plan would deprive people with HIV and AIDS of health coverage. Gore said Bradley’s plan would hurt poor people with HIV because it called for abolishing Medicaid. The government health care program for the poor.
Bradley responded that his plan would call for current Medicaid recipients to receive coverage under the system of private insurance that now covers federal employees, which he contends would be superior to Medicaid.
Gore’s press secretary then responded, “Bradley’s health plan would replace Medicaid with a $150 monthly voucher, which will not begin to cover the many services required by people with HIV and AIDS.”
Bradley accused Gore of resorting to “outrageous scare tactics” in criticizing his plan.
Source: Boston Globe on 2000 race, p. A21 , Feb 15, 2000

Fought for longer maternity stays; will fight for more

In the latter part of my terms in the Senate I discovered that women were being pushed out of the hospital in 24 hours after giving birth. I got angry and I introduced legislation. I marshaled public support, 85,000 letters came into my office and over a 15-month period we worked hard until we passed the law. I fight for my convictions and for the things I believe in. I don’t believe in politics as usual where it’s simply charge-countercharge. I believe in fighting for principle.
Source: Democrat Debate in Manchester NH , Jan 26, 2000

All people on Medicaid should have a primary care physician

Q: How will your health care plan affect minorities? A: If you’re a Medicaid recipient, 2/3rds of doctors won’t accept you. You go to an emergency room to get the most expensive care. I want to provide a primary care physician for everybody. And 40% of the people in poverty in this country don’t have Medicaid. They’re overwhelmingly African-American & Latino. Under the proposal that I have offered they would have health care and they would be mainstreamed.
Source: Democrat Debate in Des Moines, Iowa , Jan 17, 2000

Controlling smoking is key to health care reform

Bradley visited an elementary school to decry the health effects of smoking. Bradley denounced smoking as the cause of widespread illness and death and said its control is key to the health care plan at the center of his campaign. He suggested he could save billions to pay for his plan with measures such as spending an extra billion on anti-smoking programs, doubling funding for community health care centers, and supporting new research into the causes of youth smoking.
Source: New York Times, p. A20, on 2000 election , Jan 12, 2000

Covering drugs is the key to reducing health care costs

Q: How would your health care plan help older Americans on fixed incomes?

GORE: I allocate $374 billion over the next 10 years to the Medicare program. Under Senator Bradley’s plan, he doesn’t put a penny into Medicare.Under my plan, [an elderly patient] would get the cost of her prescription drugs covered. Under Senator Bradley’s plan, she would have a $500 deductible and then $300 premiums, so she wouldn’t get a penny of help under Senator Bradley’s plan.

BRADLEY: As a part of an overall health care program that I’ve proposed, I cover drug costs for senior citizens. After they’ve paid the first $800, they pay 25% above that. If we make sure they get access to the right drugs and we pay for them, that will save overall health care costs, because they will not be put into hospitals or have to pay very high expenses for doctor bills

Source: (Cross-ref from Gore) Democrat Debate in Johnston Iowa , Jan 8, 2000

Replace Medicaid with competitive system

Q: Choose a quote out of context that you think was offensive.

BRADLEY: The one that was most particularly offensive to me was when [Gore] said that I was going to hurt African-Americans & Latinos with [my proposed] health care program. And he said that I am going to destroy Medicaid. What I’m trying to do is to replace Medicaid with something better.

GORE: What I said is that poor people are disproportionately likely to be African-American & Latino. [Those are] groups that are hurt when Medicaid is eliminated and they’re given instead a little $150-a-month voucher.

BRADLEY: It’s not a $150 cap. It’s a weighted average. Someplace it’ll be more, someplace it’ll be less.

GORE: [In some states, for $150] there is no plan that they can buy into.

BRADLEY: Let me explain. how the private sector works. Insurance companies [will] compete to provide the lowest cost service. And with a weighted average the individual could bump up so that they would have available [plans] as well.

Source: (Cross-ref. to Gore) Democratic Debate in Durham, NH , Jan 5, 2000

All Americans should have access to affordable health care

Q: What will you do to strengthen Medicare? A: The health care system is in real distress. I think we have to help middle-class American pay for their health coverage, and we have to help cover 44 million Americans who don’t have any health insurance. I’ve offered a plan to do that. It’s a plan that will make access to affordable health care available to everyone in this country. It saves billions of dollars in waste and fraud. It provides a prescription drug benefit for the elderly.
Source: Town Hall Meeting, Nashua NH , Dec 18, 1999

Fund reforms from surplus, medical Internet, & lower costs

Q: How do you plan to fund your health care plan? A: Our plan will cost between $50 billion and $65 billion a year. It will come either from the surplus, or it will come through the enormous savings that we can get through the application of technology to the medical system. We spend $1.2 trillion health care - $450 billion on administrative costs. By simply moving things from paper to Internet, you will be able to achieve significant savings.
Source: Democrat Debate at Dartmouth College , Oct 28, 1999

Create respite centers for Alzheimer’s patients & caregivers

Q: What about funding home and community-based care for patients with Alzheimer’s disease and their families? A: When I was in the Senate I worked hard to try to create, essentially, day care centers for Alzheimer’s patients where caregivers who are so burdened by this - care that has to last every hour of every day - could bring them for a period of time and have a respite from that tremendous responsibility. We should also try to create a situation where seniors may stay in their homes longer.
Source: Democrat Debate at Dartmouth College , Oct 28, 1999

$650B over 10 yrs for children’s mandatory health insurance

Bradley recently proposed spending $650 billion over 10 years to require parents to obatin health coverage for their children. All children in families earning less than $50,000 a year would be fully or partially subsidized. Families could deduct from their taxable income their health premium costs, and adults would be subsidized on a sliding scale up to $33,000.
Source: Boston Globe on 2000 race, p. A14 , Oct 5, 1999

Universal health care & health insurance coverage

Bradley says he would use the power of the Presidency to push for universal health care.. Bradley said he would use the federal surplus to extend health insurance to all Americans and to reduce childhood poverty. “I’d like to know that every child in America has a chance to realize his or her potential,” he said. “There are still 14 million children today who live in poverty. There are still 45 million people in America without health insurance.”
Source: James Dao, New York Times, p. A17 on 2000 election , Aug 24, 1999

More coverage; doctors in charge of HMOs

Improving health care. requires expanding coverage, improving quality, and lowering costs. We must make a clear national commitment to cover, as close as possible, all people in America. We need to do that in a way that decreases costs and assures quality. Plus, we need to put the doctor back in charge of treatment decisions, because treatment should be determined by the individual and doctor, not by some distant HMO bureaucrat. The key point is not health care, but health.
Source: www.billbradley.com/ “On Health Care” 5/19/99 , May 19, 1999

Voted YES on blocking medical savings acounts.

Vote to block a plan which would allow tax-deductible medical savings accounts.
Status: Amdt Agreed to Y)52; N)46; NV)2
Reference: Kassebaum Amdt #3677; Bill S. 1028 ; vote number 1996-72 on Apr 18, 1996

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Page last updated: Oct 26, 2021