Health Care Reform Update

March 09, 1994

TOBACCO LOBBY -- Hard hit by report after report on health risks and impending tax increases, the tobacco industry has started to regain its composure and will fight for its life with a march on Washington today.

The Tobacco Action Coalition, which claims 17,000 members, including tobacco company employees, farmers and smokers' rights groups, said that it would march to protest the Clinton administration's plan to triple the current 24-cent tax on a pack of cigarettes in order to fund health care.

Jim Ellis, a coalition member coordinating the demonstration, said that one goal is to let Washington know that it is "unfair to single out one segment of the population to pay for a program that ostensibly will benefit everyone."

DOCTORS -- Determined to have a say in health care reform, more than 800 members of the American Medical Association met in Washington yesterday with Republican and Democratic congressional leaders.

L Today they will lobby their own congressmen on Capitol Hill.

Almost twice as many doctors participated in the AMA event as last year, when the debate on health care reform was just gearing up and was far less acrimonious.

At least seven major proposals are under consideration by Congress, but "while each proposal opens the door to reform, currently no single plan will get the job done," said Dr. Lonnie R. Bristow, an internist from San Pablo, Calif., and chairman of the AMA board.

The AMA is lobbying to ensure that reform preserves the doctor-patient relationship and patients' right to choose their own doctors, while providing insurance coverage to every American.

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