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Sen. Mitchell outlines health care proposal.

After three years of studying the problem of health care in America, President Bush presented a plan today. It's woefully inadequate. It's not a serious effort to reform our nation's health care system.

The President's plan will not control costs. It will increase costs. In 1980, when the REagan-Bush era began, Americans spent $2600 per family on health care. Last year it was up to $6500 per family. Recently the Bush Administration estimawted it would go up to $14,000 per family as of the year 2000. The President's proposal today will help make that a reality. It will drive costs right up through the roof.

The American people want far-reaching comprehensive reform of our health care system.

They want strong, effective cost-containment.

They want high quality, affordable care for all Americans.

These are the standards the American people have set. These are the standards Democrats have set. President Bush's proposal fails to meet these standards.

The President's plan is a piecemeal approach. But it's comprehensive reform that's needed.

The President's plan fails to meet the first test--that of controlling costs. In fact, his proposals would increase health care inflation. Thawt's just the opposite of what's needed.

Comprehensive health care reform must include meaningful cost containment. It must also assure that medical procedures and technology are used in an appropriate, cost-effective manner.

Our legislation (S. 1227), as approved by the Senate Labor Committee, includes such provisions. If enacted, it will save $215 billion over five years.

Comprehensive health care reform must assure that every American has access to high quality health care. The President's plan won't do that. Voluntary efforts won't achieve that objective. We have a voluntary system now, and it's not working.

One of the options the President suggested to pay for health care for low-income people who have no health insurance is to cut Medicare, which provides health care to the elderly.

In essence the President is pitting the elderly against the uninsured. He's telling elderly Americans that they've got to have less care to provide for those who now have no care. That's wrong. The elderly need good care. And they need long-term care. We will resist the President's proposals to undermine Medicare.

The President's proposal on insurance market reform is inadequate. When the President's plan is introduced as legislation, it ought to be called the Insurance Company Protection Act.

Legislation I have introduced with other Senate Democrats will provide comprehensive health care form. It's based upon America's traditions and practices. It builds on and improves the current employer-based health insurance system. The concept of our bill, Health-America, has been endorsed by a number of major organizations including the National Coalition for Health Care Reform, which is composed of respected community, business and labor leaders.

But regardless of which plan is ultimately adopted for health care reform--it must meet three fundamental objectives--it must provide high quality health care for all Americans; it must reduce costs; and it must encourage preventive care.

The real issue is peace of mind for American families. Mothers and fathers must know that if their child gets sick they will be able to provide high quality care at a cost they can afford. The problem isn't just the uninsured. ?Some of the most anxious families in America are insured. But they don't know if their insurance will continue, or whether it will pay for the cost of their child's illness. They need peace of mind. They don't have it now.

The President's plan fails to meet these objectives. We can. We must. We in Congress will do better.
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Title Annotation:part 2
Author:Mitchell, George
Publication:Nation's Cities Weekly
Date:Feb 24, 1992
Words:596
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