1992 Democratic Presidential Primary

                           Kerrey for President, Inc.
Example of Position Paper - 8 1/2" x 11".


"Increasing health care costs have decreased health care coverage. And decreasing health care coverage has increased costs. It is a vicious, deadly, unnecessary circle. It diminishes the productivity of our people. It haunts families. It kills children. It shrinks our future."
- Bob Kerrey
U.S. Senate floor (July 11, 1991)

Bob Kerrey believes the way we finance health care in this country is wrong. Our current system is bloated, contradictory, and costly. It consumes more than 12 % of our GNP, up from 6% just 20 years ago. Yet 37 million Americans have no protection at all. Sixty million don't have adequate coverage. Our infant mortality rate lags behind several industrial nations. And in many large American cities half the infants and toddlers are not immunized against diseases like polio and measles. It is no wonder a recent poll reveals that nine out of ten Americans think the country is in a health care crisis.

In his first three years in the U.S. Senate, Kerrey travelled extensively -- talking with people, convening town meetings, and visiting hospitals -- searching for solutions to our health care crisis. Then Kerrey took the lead. In July 1991 he introduced legislation in the Senate that will revamp our ailing system and restructure the way our nation finances health care. The proposal, called the Health USA Act of 1991, will bring fundamental change to our health care system:

•    Health USA will control and contain health care costs with stringent cost containment provisions, universal accountability, efficiency, and simplification
of the system.

•    Health USA will provide access to health care to every American as a right of citizenship.

•    Health USA will allow people to continue to choose their own doctors, hospitals, and health plans.

•    Health USA will separate health care coverage from employment. People will no longer be locked into jobs they don't want out of fear of losing their health insurance. Employers will be freed from the burden of providing health benefits to employees.

•    Health USA will pay for long-term care, and extend access to a comprehensive range of acute and long-term care services to all Americans regardless of income, employment, health or other status.

•    Health USA calls for a single payer system of financing health services, which will drastically reduce soaring medical costs.

Moreover, Health USA will save $11 billion nationwide in its first year and $150 billion over five years, according to an independent analysis. Health USA will put money back in the pockets of Americans, and save the typical American family about $500 a year. A recent AFSCME report calculated that had Health USA been implemented this year, it would have saved state and local governments some $27 billion.

Bob Kerrey's Health USA is not a Canadian system or a German system. Health USA is a uniquely American system. It relies heavily on the private sector, promotes innovation in the organized delivery of health care, and provides Americans with complete choice among competing private and public health plans.

The measure of an effective health care plan is how well it answers the questions Americans are asking. Will this plan control costs and save us money? Will this plan provide health care security when we need it? Will this plan prevent illness as much as it takes care of us when we are sick? Will this plan provide some measure of relief for our state and local governments, which have been battered by runaway health care costs? Will this plan satisfy basic American values? Will this plan avoid becoming yet another unresponsive government behemoth? Under Health USA the answer to all these questions is: absolutely yes. Under other proposals the answer is a resounding "maybe."

Kerrey also knows that high health care costs drag down our businesses and hinder economic growth. Health USA, by cutting those costs, will allow our businesses to compete more vigorously in international markets and generate more jobs at home. But Kerrey recognizes as well the moral urgency of our health care crisis. He believes that a just and sane America must care for its citizens when they become ill and cannot care for themselves.

"It's hard to do anything if you're not healthy," Bob Kerrey said in a November 1991 speech. "I know because I've been there. When I returned home after the Vietnam War, I was embittered, staring at the prospect of life-long disability. I found a VA hospital with caring doctors and I found friends. It gave me strength to do the things I thought weren't possible."
"The health of the people is really the foundation upon which all their happiness and all their powers as a state depend. "
Benjamin Disraeli (July 24, 1877)

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