Reaction mixed on health plan

January 30, 1992|By Los Angeles Times

WASHINGTON -- President Bush's plan to provide tax credits of up to $3,750 to help needy families buy medical insurance, the only tangible element announced so far in his long-awaited health care reform package, drew mixed reactions as the administration continued thrashing out the rest of the president's overall reform plan.

Deferring to Mr. Bush, who is expected to unveil the full package early next month, administration officials steadfastly refused to provide any details of how the tax credit system would work.

But many analysts said that the proposed tax credits may provide significant aid to some of the estimated 35 million uninsured Americans, but noted that they would not apply to middle-class taxpayers and by themselves would do little or nothing to contain the spiraling costs that have turned health care into a powerful political issue.

"Simply putting more money into the system will not work, it will not solve the health care crisis -- unless we also find ways to keep down costs," said Robert D. Ray, the former Republican governor of Iowa who is now president of Blue Cross-Blue Shield of Iowa.

Mr. Bush said Tuesday that he would shortly propose a comprehensive reform plan that would include measures to allow workers to change jobs without losing health coverage, enable small businesses to offer affordable insurance to employees, cut administrative costs through regulatory reform and restrict medical malpractice litigation.

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