Hoyer Responds to President’s Speech on Health Care

For Immediate Release:

January 28, 2004

Contact:Stacey Farnen
202-225-3130

WASHINGTON, DC – House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer (MD) released the following statement in response to President Bush’s comments at the White House today on health care:

“The President’s plan on health care, much like his plan for dealing with the jobless economy, falls far short of what this country needs. Annual health insurance cost increases are in the double-digits and there are nearly 4 million more uninsured now than when President Bush took office.

“The President’s big solution to the problem of skyrocketing health care costs and over 43 million uninsured Americans is health savings accounts, which allow families to sock away extra income tax-free to meet medical bills.  Maybe the President is still thinking about the moon and Mars, but middle-class families fighting rising health care costs in America don’t have thousands of dollars extra to stash away, and that is a poor solution to this severe challenge that millions of Americans face. 

“Also, the tax credits proposed by the president would be insufficient to enable low-income and middle-income Americans to buy insurance on the open market, where it is most expensive.  In addition, experts fear that these credits could further weaken employer-provided health insurance.

“If President Bush was serious about cutting health care costs, the new Medicare Prescription Drug bill would have been a great place to start.  Instead, he pushed a bill through Congress that prohibits the government from negotiating lower drug prices.

“Democrats would like to work with the White House and Republicans in Congress to truly tackle the problem of health care costs and the uninsured in a bipartisan manner.  Democrats would like to advance an agenda to address rising costs and the uninsured while preventing Americans from losing the coverage they already have, building on the programs that are already in place and working well, and standing up for consumers instead of health insurance and prescription drug companies.”

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