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Bush, Kerry Battle Over Health Care

Kerry said that he would lift Bush's limits on federally funded stem cell research. "By blocking stem cell research, President Bush has sacrificed science to ideology," he said. Kerry also pledged to reduce dependence on foreign oil by investing in clean and alternative energy sources, to offer auto manufacturers incentives to develop fuel-efficient cars, and invest in research that would create industries and jobs.

Speaking for the Bush campaign, Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.), a medical doctor, issued a statement saying Kerry "is not interested in the facts." Frist said Bush is the first president to fund embryonic stem cell research -- such research became possible in the past few years -- and has increased federal research and development funding by 44 percent.

President Bush told a crowd of 20,000 in Hershey, Pa., that his administration "made a good start" in improving health care. (Michael Robinson-chavez -- The Washington Post)

_____More From Post_____
Health Plans Differ in Scope And Philosophy (The Washington Post, Oct 22, 2004)
Candidates' Proposals

Here are selected provisions of the candidates' health care plans:


• Would cap noneconomic medical malpractice awards at $250,000.

• Would establish a $1,000 tax credit for individuals ($3,000 for families) to purchase health insurance.

• Would expand tax deductions for health savings accounts -- medical funds controlled by the individual -- which are usually combined with high-deductible catastrophic insurance.


• Would allow legal importation of prescription drugs from other countries, such as Canada, and permit federal health officials to negotiate for bulk drug prices.

• Would open Medicaid and the State Children's Health Insurance Program to millions more low-income children and adults.

• Would reimburse employers for as much as 75 percent of "catastrophic" cases -- exceeding $30,000 initially -- if the company offers insurance to all workers and develops a wellness program.

Bush issued an executive order in 2001 restricting federally funded research to existing embryonic stem cell lines. Some researchers have said that there are fewer of these cell lines than was believed at the time and that they are not useful for therapeutic purposes because they have been contaminated.

Bush's afternoon rally in Hershey, at a football stadium flanked by roller coasters, drew one of his largest crowds to date despite gloomy, drizzly weather. Bush will return to Pennsylvania on Friday and will then visit Ohio -- his first visit there since Oct. 2 -- and Florida. Aides anticipate more such rallies next week as Bush visits New Mexico, Colorado, Iowa and Wisconsin.

In Wisconsin, Vice President Cheney continued his assertion that Kerry does not have the "judgment or conviction America needs in a president." Lynne V. Cheney used the stop to further the controversy over Teresa Heinz Kerry questioning whether first lady Laura Bush's had ever had a "real" job. "She is warm and gracious, she's a librarian, she's a teacher, and she knows that raising kids is a real job," Lynne Cheney said.

As the Cheneys greeted supporters following the Wisconsin speech, Andrew DeBaker, a gay activist and accountant who said he is a registered Republican, yelled out to ask why Lynne Cheney did not support allowing her daughter Mary, who is a lesbian, to wed. Angry supporters sought to drown out DeBaker by yelling "Four more years!" before he was removed from the event.

"Either he doesn't love his daughter . . . or he's spineless," DeBaker later said of the vice president. He said he feels "betrayed by my party." Cheney and Bush support a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage.

Democratic vice presidential nominee John Edwards, in Iowa, continued to criticize the Bush administration for dispatching national security adviser Condoleezza Rice, Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy G. Thompson and other Cabinet officials to battleground states. "Who's minding the store? I mean, really," Edwards said. "There's a solution to that problem, and that solution in America is called Election Day."

Romano is traveling with Kerry. Staff writers Michael Laris with Cheney, John Wagner with Edwards, and Ceci Connolly in Washington contributed to this report.

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