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BLUE CROSS HOLDS STATEWIDE TOWN MEETINGS ON HEALTH CARE REFORM

 MOUNTLAKE TERRACE, Wash., Aug. 11 /PRNewswire/ -- Recognizing that change in our nation's health care system is not only eminent, but necessary, Blue Cross of Washington and Alaska will be holding a series of open town meetings throughout the state to gain insight into the concerns of Washington's citizens, the company announced today. Local elected officials have been invited to join Blue Cross representatives at these meetings to listen and learn.
 "Health care is in the process of change and so is Blue Cross. We need to take a fresh look at the health care system and work for solutions that make health services accessible and affordable for all," said Betty Woods, president and chief executive officer of Blue Cross of Washington and Alaska. "One way to accomplish this complex task is for us to listen to our subscribers and the public."
 Twenty-seven meetings will be held throughout Washington during August and early September (see attached schedule), which Blue Cross hopes will contribute to the statewide dialogue on health care reform. President Clinton is expected to unveil his health care reform proposal sometime later this year.
 As a nation, we spend between 800 and 900 billion dollars per year on our health. That's 12 percent of our gross national product. Many Americans have little or no insurance protections against these high costs. In fact, one in six Washingtonians has no medical insurance, which in many cases, makes it tough for them to afford medical care.
 "With costs quickly escalating and fewer people being served, we must fix the American health care system. But it's of the utmost importance that we get it right and get it right the first time," Woods said.
 "Solutions are possible only through listening," Woods added. "These are tough issues; we realize there are no easy answers. We all need to work together to find the best solution for everyone. Blue Cross wants to be part of that solution, not part of the problem."
 The general public can get a complete listing of meetings by calling toll free 800-473-3712.
 Blue Cross representatives will be present in an open forum in which community members will be encouraged to state their views. Elected officials also have been invited to attend. The meetings are designed to help residents gain a greater understanding of health care reform as well as to help Blue Cross better understand the health care reform needs, reactions and ideas of residents of Washington.
 Blue Cross of Washington and Alaska, is a tax paying, independent organization licensed as a pre-paid health care service contractor in Washington and a hospital and medical services contractor in Alaska. Committed to providing access to quality, affordable health care and benefit programs, Blue Cross is headquartered in Mountlake Terrace, with regional offices in Spokane and Wenatchee, Wash., and Anchorage, Alaska.
 -0- 8/10/93
 /CONTACT: Peter B. Summerville of Blue Cross of Washington and Alaska, 206-670-5630, or Robin Bender Ginn of Northwest Strategies, 206-282-1990, for Blue Cross of Washington and Alaska/


CO: Blue Cross of Washington and Alaska ST: Washington IN: HEA SU:

SB-JH -- SE002 -- 1509 08/11/93 08:34 EDT
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Aug 11, 1993
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