Dick Cheney Discusses Bush Administration’s Health Care Agenda on ABC’s ‘This Week’
Appearing on ABC's " This Week" Sunday, Vice President-elect Dick Cheney addressed the Bush administration's agenda for several key issues, including Medicare reform and prescription drugs. Excerpts from the interview appear below.
- On Medicare reform: "Well, you've got to decide exactly how you want to package it. But there were certain principles that we enunciated during the course of the campaign. That we do need to reform Medicare. That it's going to go belly-up here in a few years if we don't. That we want to include prescription drug benefit in that program";
- On the Bush administration's prescription drug proposal: "During the campaign we talked about two separate proposals. One was an immediate proposal that would deal with the problem, short term, focus specifically on prescription drugs. So that basically it would work through the states' programs that are already in place. We would appropriate money to supplement those state efforts. And separate, apart from that then, the reform of the Medicare system as part of the reform prescription drug coverage would be included";
- On prospects for enacting a prescription drug benefit: "Well, I don't know that there's any magic formula other than just plain hard work and -- and a sincere good-faith effort on the part of members of both parties led by President Bush as we move forward to try to put together a package. I think there's a general perception out there that prescription drugs have become an ever more important part of the total health care package for -- for everybody. Drugs do a lot more today. We rely on them much more extensively than we did 20 or 30 years ago for -- for medical treatment of various kinds. We need to find a way to make certain that people have access to that -- that capacity. Now, I think good-faith people can make it happen";
- On working with a divided Congress: "I don't want to convey the impression that we're going to come up and say, you know, 'It's our way or the highway. You can only do it our way.' But we do have well-developed positions on these issues and -- and this is what we'll start with" (Cheney transcript text, ABC "This Week," 12/17).