MTV NEWS, APRIL 24, 1996
from MTV's website
Hi, I'm Chris Connelly with MTV News, and another "Choose Or Lose" election year report.
On Tuesday, the US Senate unanimously passed a health care reform bill, that would help people who are switching jobs to carry their health insurance with them. The bill, which is substantially similar to a bill already passed by the House of Representatives, forbids insurance companies from denying benefits for pre-existing conditions after one year of coverage, whether or not the insured person stays in the same job. Of course, insurance premiums figure to rise as a result. While the bill does nothing for people with no health insurance, it should help those with chronic health problems, who can lose their coverage when switching jobs or starting their own businesses. Support for the bill from Senate majority leader Bob Dole, the presumptive Republican Presidential nominee. And that came as no surprise, based on what he told Tabitha Soren back in January, on board our "Choose Or Lose" bus.
Bob Dole: Let's say somebody's mother, who may be watching as a pre-existing condition, she can't get insurance. We think we ought to change the law. They ought to be covered. Let's say somebody wants to change their job, but they're afraid to call a job lock. If they leave job A to go to job B, they won't have any insurance in job B. That's called portability, and we think that ought to be corrected. We think small business men and women ought to be able to go together, so they get the economies of scale that bigger businesses have.
Chris: The health care bill now heads to a House-Senate Conference Committee, where differences in the two versions will be hammered out. Dole supports one aspect of the House version, to establish private, tax-deductible individual medical savings accounts, which health care experts say are a good option for young, healthy people with no employer-paid health plans. President Clinton, however, has said he would veto a bill with that provision, arguing that the health care industry would be destroyed by draining the healthiest people out of the insurance pool. A considerably more controversial issue in Washington right now, one that also affects millions of young people, is the minimum wage. Opinion polls say that most Americans want it raised; big businesses do not. Democrats support an increase, while Republicans seem divided on the issue. While debate rages on, we spoke about the issue recently with Soundgarden frontman Chris Cornell -- who's not exactly working a minimum wage job, of course, but has clearly given this issue some thought.
Chris Cornell, Soundgarden: You can't expect people to live with, like, a lower and lower poverty level, and then have these major corporations still making all this money and being happy about it, having a great life. I mean, the whole thing will eventually implode or explode, and everybody will suffer, whether it's a mom and pop store, or a major corporation. If the whole thing collapses, everybody goes down ship. So you have to concern yourself with how much the average guy is making. If you're a billionaire, you have to concern yourself with it. These aren't little ants that will just go away when you want them to. They're real people, and they have real lives and families.
Chris: One last note: our "Choose or Lose" bus, which has helped more than eight thousand people register to vote for the first time, rolls into Cal-State LA, in East Los Angeles on Thursday, and UC Santa Barbara on Friday. Do stop by if you're anywhere in the area.
That's the news for now. We'll have more news later, right here on MTV.