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The issue: Health care

Here are the views of the presidential candidates on the question: What steps should be taken to ensure that all Americans have access to affordable health care?

Bush: "My Comprehensive Health Care Reform package builds on the strengths of the current system _ consumer choice, innovation and state-of-the-art medicine. It cuts costs to make health-care insurance more accessible and affordable, removes the fear that changing jobs will end health-care coverage, preserves Americans' right to choose their own doctors, provides health-care coverage to those Americans currently uninsured and expands access to primary and preventive health care. This common-sense approach avoids creation of a national health-care bureaucracy that would increase health-care costs and require as much as $500-billion in new taxes."

Clinton: "A Clinton-Gore administration will treat affordable quality health care as a right, not a privilege. We will cap national spending on health care to control costs and take on the insurance and pharmaceutical industries. A Clinton health-care plan will establish a core benefits package and maintain health-care choice. And no one will be canceled or forced to accept inferior care."

Perot: "In the short term, a cost containment and prevention program should be developed immediately. Various health-care experts and representatives of affected groups should have a series of work sessions with government officials. . . . In the longer term, comprehensive national health-care reform based on a public-private partnership" involving principles including "determining a basic benefit package for universal coverage and appropriate tax treatment of health benefits."

_ Associated Press

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