AFCM Reports: President Proposes MSA Expansion
Excerpts from President Bush's Health Care Speech
February 11, 2002
"The Medical College of Wisconsin represents the future of health
here and throughout our country. It's a fitting place to address the
opportunities and challenges that the future will bring our country.
Our health care system is in need of important reform, and on the
amazing discovery. We must seize the moment for the benefit of all
[Remarks thanking several politicians, comments on war against
"There are a lot of challenges we face. We fight a recession. I'm
we'll recover. But one of the big challenges is our health care, and
to put it this way.
We face a huge challenge of making sure that we're still the world's
greatest health care system. That's our challenge: How do we
edge? How do we make sure the American people get the best health
And it starts by making sure that we attract the best and brightest
medical profession. And that can start with the president saying,
you' for dedicating your lives to such a great calling. American
the fact that you've chosen a profession that is so profound and so
important. It is a model of service and excellence.''
And the achievements of our medical professionals set the standards
entire world. Life expectancy in America today is eight years longer
was in 1950, and 29 years longer than it was in 1900. That's a lot
progress. And for millions, those extra years are more active and
healthy than anybody could have imagined.
We're making great progress against many diseases, such as breast
colon cancer and childhood leukemia. The death rate from coronary
down 40 percent since 1980. Our country leads the world in Nobel
science and medicine and in the invention of new drugs and medical
I truly believe that this progress is one of America's greatest
contributions to mankind. It is a tribute to the outstanding efforts
medical profession and to a system of private medicine that
innovation and rewards hard work.
Yet our doctors and patients know that our system is far from
many patients feel trapped by the system, with decisions about their
dictated by HMOs or government bureaucracies. Too many doctors feel
in paperwork. I've heard it said that some doctors feel they don't
medicine, they practice insurance.
At the same time, health care costs are rising sharply and many
they won't be able to afford the treatments they need.
Some procedures are overused, often as defense measures to avoid
And about 40 million Americans still have no health insurance at
We must reform health care in America. We must build a modern,
health care system that gives patients more options and fewer
strengthens the doctor-patient relationship.
The government has got to take an active role in reform. Yet it's
that government's role is not to centralize nor is government's role
control the delivery of medicine.
Other nations have tried this route, and it's lead to long lines for
treatment, low-quality care and lagging technologies. And for many
their experience with centralized government-controlled medicine
somewhere else, often right here to America where they can get the
and care they need.
The role of government health reform is to fix a system where it's
while preserving the quality and innovation of a private,
medical system. All reforms should be guided by some goals.
The first goal: All Americans should be able to choose a health care
that meets their needs at affordable prices. When people have good
when people are given different options, health plans have to
business, which means higher quality and better coverage.
Most Americans get their health care coverage at work, yet higher
causing some employers to cut back on benefits, or insist that the
pay more, especially if they want to choose their own doctor or to
complications of managed care. Many families end up in a health plan
monthly premium puts a strain on their budget. And when they require
they find what they need really isn't fully covered.
So here's what I propose. I propose we give workers more choice. I
we reform the system to make the system more individualized by
personal health accounts. Instead of paying a large premium every
services you may not use, I believe we ought to have an account that
a person to pay a much smaller premium for major medical coverage,
put the savings into a health account tax-free.
The money is your money. It's your money in the health account, not
government's money. And you can use it for whatever health care need
arises. If you don't use it, it's yours to keep. And for the more
premium, you also get catastrophic care; protection in case of
The tendency for government is one size fits all. If part of reform
restore the patient-doctor relation and to give patients more
have to change the tax system to incur and allow for patients to
decisions that is in their best interest.
And I also propose to help workers get better and more affordable
health plans at work.
Now, some large companies, they're OK; you got some choice. But many
businesses are unable to afford health insurance. And so—and that's
there's not much purchasing power. A standalone small business does
purchasing power in the marketplace; either they can't afford to
they have to allow their employees to settle on a high-premium,
And so, what I propose is that we ought to allow employers to pool
through an industry association or perhaps a chamber of commerce, so
they can get the best deal for their workers, just as large
allowed to do.
Too many workers get no coverage at all through their jobs. This is
especially true among minorities or part-time employees and seasonal
workers. For those with limited means, my budget will provide new
afford health coverage: up to $1,000 for an individual or $3,000 per
And they won't have to wait for tax time to get these health
make them immediately available for qualifying families, giving them
help they need when they need it.
And at the same time, we'll work with our nation's governors to
purchasing groups to negotiate with insurers for the people who use
In other words, people who don't have insurance must be given
purchase insurance, the states can help them pool in order to get
coverage, but it's not a government program. In other words, we
people: The government incents individuals to make decisions in the
marketplace. If the goal is to increase quality care by encouraging
individual choice and a doctor-patient relationship, health credits
way to help the uninsured do so."
This partial text is posted for educational purposes only.