Health Care Reform U P D A T E

October 09, 1993

SOCIAL SECURITY -- Social Security beneficiaries have a particular stake in President Clinton's plan to raise taxes on tobacco in the name of health. Such a tax increase would have the indirect effect of raising Social Security benefits by roughly $3 a month. The reason? Social Security benefits are tied to the Consumer Price Index, and government officials said Friday that a 75-cent tax increase on cigarettes would raise the inflation index by 0.5 percentage point. That, in turn, would produce a $35 annual raise for the average Social Security beneficiary.

DOCTORS' CONCERNS -- Doctors gathered in Orlando, Fla., for the American Academy of Family Physicians' annual meeting this week agreed that the Clinton health plan is a step in the right direction but said it does not address many of their concerns. Foremost is that the plan does not sufficiently ease the

malpractice burden physicians face.

CORPORATE CRITICS -- The plan is proving a hard sell to business. Executives representing the largest corporations, meeting in Williamsburg, Va., this week, gave the health care plan almost uniformly negative reviews, saying it would be too expensive and could make the system more inefficient. "I don't pretend to have the answers, but frankly, I'm scared of the answers that are being proposed now," said John Snow, chairman of CSX Corp. "There is a real genuine risk here of worsening health care and making it more expensive."

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