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Bradley, Gore health care plans turning out costly, contentious

©Los Angeles Times

© St. Petersburg Times, published November 9, 1999


WASHINGTON -- Bill Bradley's health care plan would cost more than three times as much as Vice President Al Gore's over the next decade but cover only 3-million more uninsured Americans, a new analysis of the competing proposals finds.

Bradley's campaign immediately rejected the findings released Monday by Emory University professor Kenneth Thorpe, a former Clinton administration official whose earlier projections on the cost of Bradley's plan have become a flashpoint in the Democratic presidential race.

The study was released even as Bradley escalated his attacks on Gore's health proposal. Bradley portrayed Gore's plan as an abandonment of the "fundamental Democratic principle of basic health care for all Americans" that President Clinton unsuccessfully pursued during his first term.

In the study, revised after consultation with Bradley's staff, Thorpe lowers his estimate of the plan's cost by $142-billion.

Thorpe calculates Bradley's plan would provide coverage for 15-million uninsured while Gore's would cover 12-million, though Bradley's plan would cost $1.05-trillion over the next decade compared to $312-billion for Gore's.

Thorpe says Bradley's plan would be more expensive, while covering only a slightly larger number of people because it would subsidize people who already have insurance and would offer a more expensive prescription drug benefit for seniors under Medicare than Gore has proposed.

While Gore's plan is targeted on those without insurance, Bradley's plan is based on income. It would offer federal subsidies for purchasing health insurance to low-income families, whether or not they receive coverage now. As a result, Thorpe calculates, as many as 48-million lower-income children and adults who have private insurance would be eligible for government aid.

Also . . .

The first questions during the 100-minute online exchange dealt with health care. Other questions, all of them screened, covered computer technology

The forum was sponsored by the Democratic Leadership Council and the Internet firm Ex-citeAtHome.

CUBA WEB SITE: In an effort to help Americans understand the maze of rules and regulations governing travel to Cuba, the State Department unveiled Monday www.state.gov/www/regions/wha/us/cuba/index.html

The Web site also highlights, with the help of pictures, the shortcomings of the revolution.

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