Copyright 1999 Globe Newspaper Company
April 10, 1999, Saturday ,City Edition
SECTION: NATIONAL/FOREIGN; Pg. A8PHOTO
LENGTH: 378 words
Clinton blasts GOP on ties to health firms
PHILADELPHIA - President Clinton yesterday portrayed Republicans as responsive
to insurance and health-care companies, as Democrats launched an Internet
petition drive to mobilize support for the "patients' bill of
"The people who are against it - basically the large
HMOs and the insurers - have got the ear of the congressional majority, and they
have a lot of political influence," Clinton charged in a speech in one of
Pennsylvania's most Democratic congressional districts.
nation, House and Senate Democrats staged rallies and speeches in 32 states to
ask Americans to raise their voices by petition for new health-care rights.
Republicans warned Democrats against trying to "poison" the health-care
reform process with "partisan rhetoric and political gamesmanship."
most controversial, and most expensive, provision sought by Democrats would give
patients the right to sue health plans and collect damages when they withhold
A modest crowd of perhaps a couple of hundred people had to
strain to hear Clinton because of poor acoustics in historic Memorial Hall,
built for the 1876 Centennial World's Fair in Philadelphia.
delighted the audience as he attempted to imitate Italian movie director Roberto
Benigni's heavily accented lament in accepting a second Academy Award: "This is
a terrible mistake, because I used up all my English." Clinton used the same
language to say that earlier speakers had said all that needed to be said at
Responding to Clinton's speech, Republicans said they
have been working hard with Democrats to come up with an acceptable HMO bill.
"If there's a way to make health care more accountable to patients
without raising costs and limiting access, we have a responsibility to do it,
and do it this year," said Ohio Representative John Boehner, chairman of the
House employer-employee relations subcommittee.
GOP presidential hopeful
Steve Forbes criticized Clinton for wanting "to pile on all kinds of new rules
and regulations" that would drive up the cost of health care.
trial lawyers say 'jump,' President Clinton and the liberal Democrats ask, 'How
high?' " Republican National Committee chairman Jim Nicholson said.
GRAPHIC: President Clinton paused yesterday before
outlining a plan to gather support for the "patients' bill of
rights" in Philadelphia. / REUTERS PHOTO
LOAD-DATE: April 13, 1999