The White House, President George W. Bush Click to print this document

For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
February 11, 2002

Fact Sheet: President Outlines Agenda for Improving Health Security in the Best Health Care System in the World


In a speech at the Medical College of Wisconsin, President Bush outlined a comprehensive health care agenda that improves health security for all Americans by building on the best features of American health care. Our health care system can provide the best care in the world, but rising costs and loss of control to government and health plan bureaucrats threaten to keep patients from getting state-of-the-art care.

To create a health care system that puts the needs of patients first, the President proposed steps to:

The President will back up this agenda with more than $300 billion in proposed funding.


President Bush outlined a comprehensive vision for helping all Americans benefit from the potential of American health care in the 21st century. The President's health care agenda is designed to improve the accessibility, affordability and accountability of health care for every American -- and to make sure that American health care keeps getting better.

Ensuring Every American Can Choose Affordable Health Care That Meets Their Needs:

The President believes that we should trust patients, working with health care professionals, to decide which treatment is best for them. Everyone should be able to choose a health care plan that meets their needs at a price they can afford. When people have good choices, health plans have to compete for their business -- which means higher quality and better care. Many Americans enjoy access to good choices in employer-sponsored health care plans, but many others do not have good coverage options or are in danger of losing them. The President proposes to address this problem through over $117 billion in initiatives to make good health care coverage more available and affordable:

The Administration will work with states to give many Americans the option of using the health credits through state-sponsored purchasing pools, to help ensure that they too have access to a broad range of affordable coverage options. The credits will enable 6 million Americans who would otherwise be uninsured during a year to get coverage, and will help many more who are struggling to pay for their own health insurance with little or no government help. The President also supports legislation to provide $15 billion in health credits to provide quick help for workers who have lost their jobs during the recession. The credits would pay 60 percent of the cost of keeping their health care coverage and would assist over 4 million displaced workers.

Better Medicaid and State Children's Health Insurance Program (S-CHIP): The Bush Administration will continue to work with states and Congress to provide innovative coverage in these important government programs, including health care coverage options. In just the past year, the Administration has already worked with states to expand innovative Medicaid and S-CHIP coverage for almost 2 million more Americans.

Strengthening Health Care for Seniors and the Disabled

Strengthened Medicare: In his budget and State of the Union address, the President renewed his commitment to provide prescription drug coverage in Medicare, based on the framework for bipartisan legislation that he proposed in July 2001. The President's budget includes $190 billion in net additional spending for improving Medicare. The President's framework would give seniors better health care options, including:

Because the Medicare drug benefit and other improvements will take several years to set up, President Bush has also proposed steps to improve Medicare benefits immediately, including:

Giving seniors access to two additional Medigap (supplemental insurance) plans, with updated benefits that provide better protection against high medical expenses and assistance with prescription drugs at a more affordable cost than the most popular plans.

Improving the Quality of Health Care

Effective Support to Increase Biomedical Research and Strengthen the Health Care Safety Net:

Support for Biomedical Research: The President's budget includes a total of $27.3 billion for the National Institutes of Health (NIH), including the final installment of $3.9 billion that will complete the goal the doubling of the NIH budget. This increase will allow NIH will expand its efforts to support research to improve the prevention, detection and treatment of diseases.

Improved Public Health Systems to Better Protect the Public: The President's budget includes $5.9 billion for bioterrorism preparedness, an increase of $4.5 billion -- more than three times the 2002 base funding level. The budget supports a variety of activities to prevent, identify and respond to incidents of bioterrorism -- including strengthening state and local health infrastructures, enhancing medical communications and disease surveillance capabilities and improving specialized Federal response capabilities. The budget also provides $1.7 billion for NIH research into new vaccines and diagnostics and increased security at its facilities.

Community Health Centers: The President's budget includes $1.5 billion for CHCs, a $114 million increase that would continue the Bush Administration's long-term strategy to add 1,200 new and expanded health center sites over five years and serve an additional 6.1 million patients. The increase for fiscal year 2003 will support 170 new and expanded health centers, and provide services to a million more patients.

National Health Service Corps: Since 1970, over 20,000 doctors, nurses, dentists, midwives, and mental health clinicians have been placed in medically underserved communities through the National Health Service Corps (NHSC). The President's budget includes $191.5 million -- a $44 million increase -- to strengthen the NHSC. With the increased funding, the NHSC will provide scholarships or loan assistance to about 1,800 professionals practicing in underserved areas - an increase of about 500 participants.

For more information on the President's initiatives please visit

Return to this article at:

Click to print this document