Capital Digest

February 12, 1992 2 min read

President Bush’s long-awaited health-care plan, which was announced last week, would give families tax credits worth up to $3,750 a year to buy health insurance.

Under the President’s market-based approach, small businesses and individuals would be pooled into larger groups so they could purchase health coverage at lower rates. Insurance companies, meanwhile, would not be allowed to exclude individuals who have pre-existing medical conditions.

Medical costs would be cut by limiting awards in medical-malpractice lawsuits and by encouraging both private employers and Medicaid to enroll clients in “managed care” programs, such as health-maintenance organizations.

In a speech in Cleveland last week, where he outlined his proposal, Mr. Bush said his plan would provide health-care coverage to almost 30 million uninsured Americans. Many estimate that there are about 35 million uninsured Americans, about one-third of whom are children.

In his speech, Mr. Bush did not say how much the proposed tax credits would cost or how the government would pay for them.

Agency Seeks Comment On Reauthorization

The Education Department has requested public comment in preparation for next years reauthorization of precollegiate-education programs, and in doing so has offered a preview of the Bush Administration’s agenda.

The department’s Fob. 4 Federal Register notice indicates that the Administration will seek changes in existing education programs that would support progress toward the national education goals “as enunciated through” the Administration’s America 2000 education strategy.

The agency specifically invited comment on how programs can better promote “world-class standards” for all students; give more authority and flexibility to states and communities; promote “Family responsibility and choice"; require schools receiving funds to show measurable results; and encourage innovation.

Virtually all of the federal programs for elementary and secondary education, other than vocational programs and special education, must be renewed in 1993. Comments are due by March 20.

Schools received a total of $624 million in donated food commodities from the federal government to use in their school-lunch programs in fiscal year 1990, the General Accounting Office reports.

Of this amount, about $77.5 million, or 12.4 percent, was sent to food processing firms to be made more table-ready, the report says. Eight states and Puerto Rico accounted for about 76 percent of the commodities sent to processors in terms of dollar value, the study found.

Most school officials said they were satisfied with their processed food, the report concludes.

The Education Department could reduce the subsidy made to lenders participating in the Guaranteed Student Loan program at no risk to the program, the General Accounting Office concludes in a recent report.

Because lenders make loans at a reduced interest rate to borrowers, the federal government adds a supplement of 3.25 percentage points above the 91-day Treasury-bill rate.

The G.A.O. recommends dropping that to 3 percent, which would result in a savings of $421 million between fiscal years 2992 and 1996.

The report is expected to influence upcoming Congressional action on the Higher Education Act.

A version of this article appeared in the February 12, 1992 edition of Education Week as Capital Digest