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Clinton announces blueprint for health care reform.

Long on broad strokes and short on details, President Bill Clinton unveiled his long-awaited National Health Care Reform initiative before the nation and the Congress, again inviting Americans to "make change our friend. After decades of false starts," he said, "we must make this our most urgent front."

One detail and commitment the President did clarify is the need to reduce the burgeoning gun-related violence that plaques many American communities The President stated that stemming the tide of rampant gun-related violence is linked with effective cost containment.

He laid out six key "values and principles" as the underpinnings of the reform proposal from which Congress will craft a final version over the next several weeks.

Mostly, the President set out to focus on the broader issues for which there is already considerable agreement, borrowing principles and ideas contained in proposals sponsored by democrats and republicans. These principles also incorporate many of the principles and criteria contained in NLC's National Municipal Policy. Pior to addressing the Congress the President had briefed local elected officials on many of these aspects at a special White House meeting (see Nation's Cities Weekly 9/20).

The Administration's principles are: security, simplicity, savings, choice, quality and responsibility.

Within the sphere of the Responsibliity" principle, was where the President focused on gun violence as having a major impact on the nation's health care system. In his remarks, Clinton stated the need for individuals to take responsibuity for changing some behaviors." One is the outregous costs of violence" that stems "in large measure from the fact that this is the only country in the world where teenagers can roam the streets at random, with semi-automatic weapons and be better armed than the police."

The President was emphatic in his belief that the system can be changed for the better.

"I believe that we can reform the most costly and wasteful system on the face of this earth without enacting new broadbased taxes," said Clinton.

Criticizing the existing system, Clinton said the "health care system is badly broken and it is time to fix it. It is too uncertain, too expensive, too bureaucratic and too wasteful and it has too much fraud and too much greed."

In addition to the issue of gun violence, cities and towns have a wide range of interests in health care reform, some of which were touched upon in last week's Nation's Cities Weekly Preliminary Diagnosis: What the Clinton's Health Plan Might Mean for Cities 9/20/93).

In future weeks Nation's Cities Weekly will run a series of stories analyzing the possible impacts of different aspects of the plan from a municipal perspective such as: municipal employer issues, municipal hospitals and public health systems. workers compensation and auto insurance, drug and substance abuse, services to central cities and rural towns and ambulances/EMS services.
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Author:Quist, Janet
Publication:Nation's Cities Weekly
Date:Sep 27, 1993
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