Healthcare has vastly improved under President Bush, HHS Secretary Tommy Thompson said as Republicans sought to showcase the compassionate side of Bush's conservatism.
Thompson said citizens of Afghanistan and Iraq have received far better healthcare since the U.S. overthrew their former ruling regimes. He also praised the Bush administration's efforts to distribute anti-viral drugs in AIDS-ravished Africa. And Thompson promoted the enactment of a prescription drug benefit for Medicare recipients in the U.S.
"George W. Bush has delivered not only in America, but he's delivered worldwide. He's given people hope and opportunity and a chance to live," Thompson told members of Missouri's delegation to the Republican National Convention.
Aside from Thompson's comments today, however, healthcare has been conspicuously absent from the convention.
The Republican Party yesterday approved its platform, which includes healthcare support for association health plans and health savings accounts. It also reiterates support for medical liability reform and rejection of "any measure aimed at making healthcare a government-run enterprise." The platform is nonbinding but offers an outline of where the party stands on issues and its agenda.
Republican pollster Whit Ayres said that with three days left in the convention, there is plenty of time for healthcare. "The most significant issue facing the nation is national security," he said. "That does not mean others are irrelevent."
Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist of Tennessee is scheduled to speak tonight. The convention ends on Thursday with President Bush expected to announce his healthcare agenda for a possible second term. -- by Tony Fong and the Associated Press