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FIELD CALLS ON CONGRESS FOR HEALTH CARE REFORM

 FIELD CALLS ON CONGRESS FOR HEALTH CARE REFORM
 SEATTLE, Feb. 24 /PRNewswire/ -- The United States urgently needs


comprehensive health care reform or else Americans are due to face health costs which even the rich may not be able to afford, according to Clayton Field, president of First Choice Health Network Inc.
 "Reform of our health care system is the most urgent priority of the American people," Field told a health care conference sponsored by U.S. representatives Norm Dicks, D-Wash., and John Miller, R-Wash., today in Seattle. He said a study by the Consumer Research Center found that, when it comes to hospital charges, more Americans feel they get a better value from credit cards and lawyers' fees.
 "When people start thinking that something is costing them more than lawyers' fees -- well, I just think that's about as dismal as it gets," Field said.
 He said the answer does not lie in a Canadian-style national health program. "My opinion is that the Canadian system may work well in Canada -- and I know you'll find a lot of Canadians who will disagree with that -- but the Canadian system won't work here.
 "The truth is that Canada's system, right now, is a two-tiered, class-conscious system of providing health care," Field said. "If you're Canadian, wealthy and have a major health care problem, you just come to the U.S. for your by-pass surgery... and by-pass the Canadian cardiac queues in which the less-wealthy patients may die before their turns for treatment come up."
 Field said the answer lies first in providing adequate health coverage for the uninsured and then in devising a market-driven program which will help control costs for all the rest of Americans. "People here are scared to death when they realize that the cost of living has increased 63 percent in the last 12 years while health care costs have gone up 193 percent -- more than three times faster."
 First Choice Health Network Inc. is the fastest-growing and third- largest preferred provider organization (PPO) in the state of Washington. Governed by an independent board of directors, First Choice was formed in 1984 by six hospitals and about 700 physicians. It now is a professionally managed network of 51 hospitals and more than 3,000 doctors or other health care providers. First Choice offers high quality health care benefits to 245,000 people working at about 4,000 companies throughout Washington state.
 -0- 2/24/92
 NOTE TO EDITORS: A copy of Field's statement to Congressmen Dicks and Miller is available by calling 206-285-7070 in Seattle.
 /CONTACT: Clayton Field of First Choice Health Network, 206-292-8255; or David Endicott of Communication Northwest, 206-285-7070, for First Choice Health Network/ CO: First Choice Health Network ST: Washington IN: HEA SU:


LM-JH -- SE006 -- 2060 02/24/92 16:45 EST
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Date:Feb 24, 1992
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