Clinton & Dole duke it out over MSAs

In our <A href="/toc/1996/01/index.html">January 1996</a> issue, MoJo sheds light on Newt Gingrich’s plans to destroy Medicare by helping a big contributor with his medical savings account scheme. Find out why medical savings accounts might not be the best plan for consumers after all.

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When two men disagree it usually doesn’t make the front page of the New York Times. But reporters have been dying for Bill Clinton and presumptive GOP nominee Bob Dole to pick their first fight. So when the sitting prez and Senate leader started baring their teeth over medical savings accounts, it made for big news.

Last week, the Senate passed a popular bill allowing job-changers to retain their employer-sponsored health benefits without fear of being denied coverage because of “pre-existing” conditions. Although Dole fought to make MSAs a part of the bill, the Senate voted against him.

The House version of the bill, however, does include MSAs, thanks to Newt Gingrich. Now the conference committee, where differences between the House and Senate versions of the bill are hammered out, becomes the battleground. Dole is trying to stack the committee with pro-MSA conferees; Clinton threatens to veto the bill if it includes MSAs.

Supporters call MSAs a “free-market solution to rising health care costs.” Critics say MSAs could help destroy Medicare. The MoJo Wire reveals that the GOP’s devotion to MSAs looks like a massive payback to a top contributor. Read the story behind the headlines: Medikill, which first appeared in the January/February 1996 issue of Mother Jones.

The Battle Ahead

As it stands, the conferees from the Senate will probably fight the House to keep MSAs out of the bill. The ranking member of the Senate Labor committee, Nancy Kassebaum (R-Kansas), drafted the Senate version without MSA provisions. John H. Chafee (R-RI), another moderate Republican, would be a ranking member from the Finance committee. They would potentially team up with Democrats to fight against MSAs. So Dole plans to take only two Republicans from Finance, passing over Chafee, and instead include two pro-MSA Republicans from the Judiciary committee.


The Committees:

Senate Committee on Labor and Human Resources: Has clear jurisdiction over the bill. Kassebaum and Kennedy are the ranking members.

Senate Committee on Finance: Must be involved because Dole added provisions for tax breaks in the bill.

Senate Committee on the Judiciary: Dole wants to add Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) and Strom Thurmond (R-SC) (both pro-MSA), from this committee. Democrats raise doubts about whether this committee has jurisdiction.

SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

payment methods

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