HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON

Tinkering around the edges won’t fix what’s wrong

1% Clinton Administration

health care plan promises real reform, not just tinkering around the edges, first lady Hillary Rodham Clinton said.

She said she learned the necessity of reform during the year in which she traveled around the country col- lecting information as chair of the Task Force on National Health Care Reform. “We have the best doctors, the best health care professionals, the best hospitals and research institutions in the world,” she said. “We also have probably the stupidest and most expensive way to finance health care in the world.”

Clinton appeared at the forum over a live, two—way television con— nection. Icy weather had prevented her from traveling to Raleigh. (See accompanying article.) During the session, she took audience questions covering such issues as rural health care, Medicare, and the effect of health care reform on small businesses.

The nation needs to preserve and build on what is good and fiX what is broken in the health care system, Clinton said during her prepared remarks. Outlining how the adminis— tration’s plan for managed competi— tion would accomplish these goals, she said it would:

' Provide every American guaran— teed health care coverage from a private insurer or managed care provider.

' Create a standardized, compre- hensive package that covers pre— ventive care and prescription drugs.

0 Make it illegal for a health care plan to drop people because they are sick or old.

0 Eliminate lifetime limits on

coverage.

° Require one standard claim form

for all plans.

Most people will continue to get insurance coverage through their employers, Clinton said. The differ— ence will be that each employer, or in some cases a regional alliance rep— resenting a larger group, will offer several plans for the individual or family to choose from.

“What we’re hearing is that employers, under pressure to control costs, are eliminating choices for their workers,” she told one questioner. “Under the president’s plan, which doctor and which health plan you sign up for will be your choice, not your employer’s and not your insur— ance company’s.”

All plans would cover specified services, including mental health care, and none could be canceled. “You pay a fair, affordable price for securi— ty,” she said, “and when you get sick, you have health care that is always there, no matter what.”

Physicians, hospitals, and other care—givers would also be allowed to choose which plans to join. And because the standard form would reduce paperwork, she said, “We can go back to using the doctor’s offices and hospitals as places of healing, not monuments to paperwork and bureaucracy.”

Rural areas would benefit from the administration’s plan in several ways, she told a questioner. First, she said, by providing coverage for everyone, it would create a stable financial base for the delivery of care in rural areas. It also would offer incentives for health care providers to locate in underserved areas and would increase reimbursement rates for rural hospitals, she said. Finally, she said, it would improve the support network for rural physicians through the use of

“We have the best doctors, the best health

care professionals, the best hospitals and research institutions in the world. We also have probably the stupidest and most expensive way to finance health care.”

Hillary Rodham Clinton, chair, Task Force

on National Health Care Reform