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Dodd Offers Plan To Improve Health Care For Veterans

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Health Care For Veterans

Presidential candidate Sen. Chris Dodd(D-Conn.) on Wednesday at the Iowa Paralyzed Veterans of America hallin Des Moines announced a proposal to improve health care anddisability benefits for veterans, the Des Moines Registerreports. The proposal would mandate that determinations on disabilitybenefits occur within 30 days and that payments begin no later than twoweeks after the determination, according to Dodd. He said veterans onaverage must wait 177 days before they begin to receive disabilitypayments.

In addition, the proposal would expand the Familyand Medical Leave Act to allow more time for family members to care forsick or injured veterans. He said, "Far more needs to be done toaddress gaps in coverage. It's not enough to blame red tape." Dodd saidthat the proposal would cost $19 billion and that he would finance theplan with funds currently used to finance the Iraq war, which he haspromised to end (Rossi, Des Moines Register, 11/7).

GOP in Position on Health Care

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"Despite their shaky reputation when it comes to health care policy,"Republicans "are positioned to make major strides in this debate -- butthey just don't know it yet," Gary Andres, vice chair of research andpolicy for Dutko Worldwide, writes in a Washington Timesopinion piece. Health care "policy ideas long championed by the GOP arepopular with voters," he writes, adding, "Just ask" presidentialcandidate Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton(D-N.Y.). According to Andres, the "traditionally 'Democratic' elementsof Mrs. Clinton's plan are less popular with voters than those sheborrows from Republicans." He adds, "She names her initiative 'TheAmerican Health Choices Plan,'" focuses on "putting 'consumers in thedriver's seat,' ... says health care is all about 'your choices,'" and"explicitly rejects the notion of 'government-run health care' or thatthe plan creates any new bureaucracy."

Andres writes,"Republicans and conservatives should realize their ideas garner strongpopular support and that their unjustified diffidence on health care ispolitically debilitating," adding, "They need to package, market andcommunicate their policies before Mrs. Clinton cherry picks and takescredit for the most popular ones" (Andres, Washington Times, 11/8).

Related Broadcast Coverage

NPR's "All Things Considered"on Wednesday reported on efforts by Clinton to implement health carereform as first lady. According to NPR, health care reform served asthe "biggest test for Hillary Clinton in the White House," and she madea "consequential decision -- not to compromise with any of thealternative proposals that would have provided less than universalcoverage." Clinton during her presidential campaign has said that shehas "learned some valuable lessons that have shaped how I approachhealth care reform today," such as the need to compromise. Whethervoters accept her position on health care "may determine whether shebecomes president," NPR reports.

The segment includes commentsfrom Sally Bedell Smith, author of "For Love of Politics," a book aboutClinton and her husband; Carl Bernstein, author of "A Woman in Charge,"a biography of Clinton; NBC Washington bureau chief Tim Russert; DavidGergen, a senior adviser during the Clinton administration; and LeonPanetta, White House chief of staff during the Clinton administration(Liasson, "All Things Considered," NPR, 11/7).

Reprinted with permission from kaisernetwork.org. Youcan view the entire Kaiser DailyHealth Policy Report, search the archives, and sign up for email deliveryat kaisernetwork.org/email. The Kaiser Daily HealthPolicy Report is published for kaisernetwork.org, a free service of The HenryJ. Kaiser Family Foundation.