ABC News' The Note: First Source for Political News

Elie Wiesel shakes his head at the state of politics on the Washington Post op-ed page and writes that this year, "One could almost say that the goal is not to inspire but to incite, not to inform but to dumb down." LINK

ABC News Vote 2004: Bush v. Kerry: the politics of health care:

USA Today 's William Welch reports, "With a new Medicare drug benefit set to begin in 2006, Americans 65 and older can expect to spend a large and growing share of their Social Security checks on Medicare premiums and expenses, previously undisclosed federal data show." LINK

Knight Ridder's Ron Hutcheson and James Kuhnhenn take a great look at the health care back-and-forth between the Bush and Kerry camps on Monday, with President Bush saying Senator Kerry favors a huge government-run health care program and Kerry, strenuously avoiding comparisons to the failed 1993 health care proposal by the Clinton Administration, saying a new bureaucracy would not grow from his plan, which tax incentives would fuel. LINK

"The Kerry camp, citing an independent study, says its plan would cost about $650 billion over 10 years and would be paid for by ending the current tax cut for taxpayers with incomes greater than $200,000. But the Bush camp is relying on a new study by the American Enterprise Institute, a center-right think tank, which places the cost of Kerry's plan closer to $1.5 trillion over 10 years. . . . The Kerry plan, the study said, would cover 27.3 million currently uninsured Americans, whereas the Bush proposal would cover only 6.7 million uninsured Americans."

The New York Times ' David Sanger writes up President Bush's Monday criticism of Kerry's health care plan. LINK

ABC News' Karen Travers reports that the RNC is not going up with a new ad, Republican officials say, but are going in on a coordinated buy with the BC04 campaign on today's new health care ad attacking Senator Kerry.

Hitting back on an issue that BC04 officials admit could pose problems for them, the campaign has released it's second ad in a week focusing on health care, "Healthcare: Practical Vs. Big Government."

It will begin airing on national cable and in local markets in battleground states today.

The ad compares President Bush's health care plan, focusing on small businesses, medical liability reform and health savings accounts, with Senator Kerry's, which the ad calls "government-run health care," that puts "Washington bureaucrats in control."

The ad says that Senator Kerry's health care plan will cost $1.5 trillion, citing the "non-partisan American Enterprise Institute" as it source in the ad facts. Vice President Cheney also cited the study yesterday at a town meeting in Iowa, saying Kerry's health care plan "breaks the bank," Travers reports.

ABC News's Arash Ghadishah reports that the president touted his own modest health care reform plan while attacking his opponent's proposal as a "government takeover of health care with enormous prices." The explicit result of Kerry's health plan, said Bush, would be higher taxes, a change the president called characteristic of Kerry. "What would you expect from a Senator from Massachusetts … You can't pay for it unless you raise taxes," warned President Bush.

The study released by AEI today says: "Over the ten-year period between 2006 and 2015, the Kerry plan would increase federal outlays by about $1.5 trillion. That estimate nets out the savings that could be obtained from several provisions included in the plan."

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