February 2004
New Republic;2/2/2004, Vol. 230 Issue 3, p7
This editorial takes President George W. Bush's health care policies to task and argues for nationalized health care. The striking thing about the new ideas President Bush presented Tuesday night is that they aren't new at all. In his speech, Bush proposed reforming malpractice laws, creating purchasing pools for small businesses, and offering new tax breaks for health insurance--all ideas he has been touting since the spring of 2000, when candidate Bush first suggested them. But they make no more sense now than they did then. Bush's effort to help small businesses cover their employees by allowing them "to band together and negotiate for lower insurance rates" at least targets a more germane problem. Of all the Bush health ideas trotted out this week, the most serious and promising is the creation of refundable tax credits to help the uninsured. Whatever their individual flaws, the most devastating thing you can say about Bush's proposals is what, together, they signal about his administration's priorities. The most emotional pitch Bush made in his State of the Union was a plea for Congress to make permanent his tax cuts--tax cuts that could easily pay to cover every single uninsured American. Hopefully, Americans will remember that when they vote in November.


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