In two ads that began airing Tuesday, the Republican campaign claimed Kerry's plan is "a big government takeover," while the newspaper said the Kerry plan builds on the existing system of private health insurance, primarily through tax credits and incentives.
Bush also claimed Kerry's healthcare plan would lead to "rationing," "less access," "fewer choices" and "long waits." But his campaign acknowledged those were references to the existing Medicaid program, whose eligibility would be expanded under Kerry's proposal.
Kerry senior adviser Tad Devine called the ads "utterly false and completely dishonest."
Within hours, Kerry responded with his own healthcare ad, saying that "for the last four years, one man has stood between America and lower-cost prescription drugs: George Bush."
The Massachusetts senator says in the ad he will fight to legalize drug imports from Canada and to allow Medicare to make bulk purchases.