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CNN Today

Bush Unveils Medicare Plan

Aired September 5, 2000 - 2:28 p.m. ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

LOU WATERS, CNN ANCHOR: George W. Bush today outlined his plan to overhaul health care coverage for the nation's seniors, and to borrow from that television commercial, this isn't your father's Medicare plan.

Bush's $158 billion, 10-year outline offers much of the standard equipment from the current Medicare model, but it also presents many new options. Here's CNN's Kate Snow.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

KATE SNOW, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Speaking to an audience of seniors, George W. Bush compared the Medicare system to an old 65 Chevy in desperate need of an overhaul.

GOV. GEORGE W. BUSH (R-TX), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: There's something very wrong when the nation's greatest health care program cannot keep pace with the latest health care progress.

SNOW: Bush said his prescription drug benefit would kick in right away: $48 billion over four years would be sent to states beginning in 2001. The money would be used to help states provide prescription drug coverage for low-income seniors and it would cover prescription drug costs above $6,000 in a year for any senior, rich or poor. Over 10 years, Bush would change the way Medicare works. Unlike Al Gore's plan, he would incorporate private insurance companies in an effort to eliminate red tape.

BUSH: When you need a driver's license, bureaucracy can be frustrating. When you need medical care, bureaucracy can be hazardous to your health.

SNOW: Bush's long term proposal would cost $110 billion over 10 years. Recipients could choose from a variety of public or private insurance plans. The plan would cover between 25 percent and 100 percent of premium costs for prescription drugs depending on the recipient's income. And it would cover catastrophic medical costs above $6,000 a year for any senior.

After weeks of criticism from the Gore campaign for not providing details, Bush struck back at the vice president.

BUSH: My opponent, Vice President Gore, talks about the people versus the powerful. For eight years, he has been the powerful. And on health care, he has little to show for it.

SNOW (on camera): The Gore campaign finds fault with the Bush plan, saying millions of Americans would be left uncovered. The Bush campaign denies that, Governor Bush saying he welcomes the opportunity to compare and contrast the two plans.

Kate Snow, CNN, Allentown, Pennsylvania.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

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