An executive with Wellmark Blue Cross-Blue Shield says neither President Bush nor his democratic challenger John Kerry have the perfect prescription to fix the nation’s health care system, but Clifford Gold says the two candidates have offered “intriguing” proposals. Gold says his company “would love to see” a bipartisan discussion of the issue that includes insurance companies, health care providers and pharmaceutical companies. Gold says “there’s been a lot of rhetoric” about the issue of health care during the presidential campaign, but he hasn’t seen either candidate offer what Gold would term a “perfect solution.” Gold says the biggest change that’s needed right now is to get drug companies, H-M-Os, insurance companies, doctors and patients “out of their corners” and into a “neutral discussion” of solutions. The Blue Cross system currently covers about half of federal employees, and Senator Kerry has proposed allowing everyone to buy that federal plan. Gold says that “could be viable” but he warns it won’t be simple. President Bush has advocated tort reform to help reduce the costs of doctors’ medical malpractice insurance, and Bush also touts passage of a prescription drug benefit for seniors through Medicare. But Kirk Norris, the president of the Iowa Hospital Assocaition, says the new prescription drug discount cards available to seniors aren’t yet a big hit. Kirk Norris says “the jury’s still out on whether or not the drug benefit is what the consumer was looking for or what they’ll actually utlitize.” The two men made their comments this morning during an appearance on C-SPAN, cable television’s public affairs network.
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