Health Care Reform Update

October 23, 1993

RECALCULATING -- The Clinton administration has reduced its estimate of how much revenue it expects to raise from taxes for its health-reform package, White House adviser Ira Magaziner said yesterday.

The White House originally estimated that taxes on cigarettes and a 1 percent corporate levy would raise $105 billion by the year 2000, including $12 billion in 1994 alone. But that assumed Congress would pass health reform by the end of this year. Mr. Magaziner said the administration is looking to spring or summer, meaning that the 1994 fiscal year "is for all intents and purposes gone."

POLITICS -- While President Clinton talks about the need for bipartisan support for health care reform, Senate Democrats are using the specter of Republican opposition as a money-raising tool.

In his speech to Congress last month and in numerous other appearances, Mr. Clinton and Hillary Rodham Clinton have stressed their desire to have Republicans join them in adopting reform.

But in a letter sent recently to 360,000 potential supporters and appealing for contributions in the range of $30 to $250, Florida Sen. Bob Graham, chairman of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, warned: "The strategy of Senate Minority Leader Bob Dole and the Senate Republicans is clear. Republicans will fiercely oppose what Bill Clinton wants to accomplish, and they will do so without consideration and without negotiation."

DOCTORS -- Most doctors oppose President Clinton's plan to reform the nation's health care system, a USA Today-Cable News Network-Gallup poll released yesterday said.

The survey of 502 practicing physicians said 58 percent oppose the president's health care plan and 53 percent disapprove of his handling of the presidency. It said 63 percent of doctors thought Mr. Clinton's plan would actually increase health care costs and 67 percent thought it would reduce the quality of care for individual Americans -- just the opposite of what the president intends.

The guarantee of coverage for all Americans, and federal subsidies to help pay for coverage for the poor, was one part of the plan that the overwhelming majority of doctors did like, said the poll. It also showed 62 percent of doctors agreed abortion should be covered.

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