WASHINGTON, Jan. 23 (UPI) -- U.S. President George Bush's proposals for healthcare reform Tuesday drew sharp criticism from advocacy groups who say they could worsen the situation.
A statement from Community Health Centers speculated changes in the tax structure Bush proposed during his State of the Union address could lead to the erosion of current coverage without making it more affordable for the uninsured and could encourage people to buy coverage that provides for inadequate preventive care.
The Children's Defense Fund said it was disappointed Bush did not address the 9 million uninsured children -- and the millions more underinsured -- in the United States.
"Tax deductions do little for most families," said Marian Wright Edelman, president of the fund. "The president's plan would force many parents to choose between paying for health care or other family needs. We need to be more direct in dealing with the health care crisis, especially for the sake of our children."
Shay Bilchik, president and chief executive officer of the Child Welfare League of America, said the Bush plan falls far short of a comprehensive solution and could siphon $40 billion from Medicaid.
"Earlier this week, the president acknowledged ... the federal government has an obligation to provide care for the most vulnerable members of our society, ... Yet, his proposal reflects a narrow focus on private health care insurance at the expense of these important public health insurance programs," Bilchik said. "A piecemeal proposal to reform health care does not deserve serious consideration."