COUNCIL BLUFFS, IA -- Governor Bill Richardson announced his plan for universal, affordable healthcare in a speech to Iowans today.
"We need universal healthcare now," said Governor Richardson. "Now is the time. For every American who wants to look a suffering loved one in the eye and tell them that tomorrow will be better than today -- now is the time. For the good of our nation, now must be the time."
Governor Richardson outlined the following details of his plan:
- Coverage - Guaranteed Coverage for All Americans with Real Choices: Bill Richardson believes that there is no one-size-fits-all approach to providing affordable health coverage for all Americans.Nor does he believe in creating new bureaucracies. Under a Richardson administration all Americans will have affordable coverage choices through 1) the same plan as members of Congress; 2) Medicare for those 55-64; 3) Medicaid and SCHIP for lower income families; 4) existing family coverage for young adults up to age 25; and 5) a Heroes Health Card and stronger Veterans Administration for veterans
- Costs - Making Health Care Affordable for All: Bill Richardson believes that everyone must share responsibility for making the system work. He believes that 1) All Americans should be required to have coverage; 2) Employers should be required to do their fair share to contribute to a healthy and covered work force; 3) A sliding-scale tax credit should be available for Americans who need help affording coverage; 4) American families should get immediate relief from high interest rates for medical debt placed on credit cards. As President, Richardson will save the government up to $110 billion per year to invest in quality, affordable health coverage for all Americans, by streamlining health care administration and investing in prevention.
- Care - Improving Quality of Care for All Americans: Bill Richardson believes that all Americans deserve access to affordable, high-quality health care. Richardson will work to improve quality of care for all Americans by: 1) Promoting evidence-based care and comparative effectiveness research; 2) Promoting transparency on price and quality of health care; 3) Restructuring incentives for high-quality care; 4) Improving patient safety; 5) Ensuring an adequate health care workforce; and 6) Reducing health disparities.
"My plan provides choices -- including the choice to keep your current coverage -- and existing programs to expand coverage options," said Governor Richardson. "We spend over 2.2 trillion dollars a year on health care in this country. We all know that we're not getting what we've paid for.
"We need to require that all health plans cover a standard set of proven preventive services. If there's one thing better than a patient's being cured of a disease, it's his never having had it at all."
Governor Richardson also criticized the Bush Administration for its failed and misguided efforts on healthcare.
"Today, we as a nation need to be responsible stewards of the health of our children and parents, our brothers and sisters, our husbands and wives," said Richardson. "President Bush has failed this basic test of American decency."