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President Bush Promotes New Health Care Plan

President Bush outlined new health care initiatives in his State of the Union address Tuesday, including creating new tax deductions on health insurance and giving states more flexibility in using federal funds. Two health care experts discuss the president's plan.

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  • MARGARET WARNER:

    President Bush took to the road again today, this time to sell his new health care plan.

    He met with doctors and nurses at Saint Luke's Hospital in Lee's Summit, Missouri, then held a roundtable discussion on the proposals he had first laid out in his State of the Union address. The goal, he said, is to make affordable health insurance available to more Americans.

    We look at the president's plan, first, for the basics, with our health correspondent, Susan Dentzer.

    Susan, welcome.

    So, what, broadly, is the outline of the president's plan?

  • SUSAN DENTZER:

    Margaret, there are two new aspects to what the president is proposing this year.

    The first is a major change in the federal tax treatment of employer-sponsored health insurance coverage that, in effect, would change that very dramatically, and replace it with a system where all Americans who had health insurance would be eligible for a standard deduction that would help pay for their health insurance. That's part one.

    The second part is an offer of flexibility, in terms of federal funding, for states that undertake themselves to expand health insurance coverage for their own populations. And the effort is to take federal funds that are currently given to states for health care and redirect them to help carry out these reform efforts.

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