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“hose who are seeking to preserve the lucra tive status quo in the $1 trillion health care industry are relying on middle-class complacency to take the heat off President Clinton’s reform push. But few of us of whatever class can afford complacency with the sort of economic changes promised by the North American Free Trade Agreement and the increasingly globalized economy. Thirty-nine million Americans already have no insurance coverage. That number includes 3.7 million Texans. Many of them have jobs, but their employers are unable or unwilling to pay for insurance coverage. Even if workers are covered, they may not be able to afford insurance for their spouses or children. When these underinsured people go to hospital, if they are admitted at all, they must be “charity” patients. God help them in that case. Because until they lose their income and exhaust their life savings, the government won’t help. President Clinton, with the assistance of First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton, has presented a health reform plan that is a step in the right direction. It does not contain everything the heirs of Roosevelt and Truman should promote in a national health care program. But it moves toward comprehensive benefits for all Americans and health care systems that are accountable to their patients. The consumers’ group Families USA reported that 3.1 million Texans would gain new or improved drug coverage by 1998 under the Clinton plan; 8.4 million Texans would gain dental benefits by 2001; 9.9 million Texans would gain vision benefits by 1998; 9.4 million Texans would gain coverage for mental illness or substance abuse by 2001; 174,000 Texans would gain long-term care at home by 2003; 3.4 million Texans would have lower copayments or deductibles by 1998; and 2.2 million Texans who are denied health coverage for conditions they or their family members already have, or who are charged higher premiums, will gain new protections against discrimination by 1998. Still, it’s a long time to wait for limited coverage; we agree with Physicians for a National Health Program, whose members argue that a Canada-style “single-payer” health program, where the government would finance comprehensive health care with a broad-based tax, is preferable to Clinton’s “managed competition” plan, which allows the big insurance companies to cash in with health maintenance organizations and other profit-making health plans, while employers and employees would split the cost of insurance. U.S. Representative Mike Andrews, a Houston Democrat and a key vote on the health subcommittee of the House Ways and Means Committee, is a co-sponsor of the so-called “bipartisan” alternative favored by the insurance companies, which would preserve their profitable role and gradually expand health coverage to less than half of the nation’s 38.5 million uninsured people at a cost of $19 billion. Representatives Chet Edwards of Waco, Greg Laughlin of West Columbia and Charles Stenholm of Stamford are among the Republicrats who have signed on to that misguided cop-out on health care reform. It is difficult to underestimate the ability of the health industry to resist changes. The health care industry is trying to get by with as little reform as possible; its PACs and executives already have spent $8.3 million in the past year, Citizen Action reported, and they are prepared to spend as much as they need to water down the reforms. Andrews, who is seeking the Democratic nomination for U.S. Senate, has received more than $500,000 from medical and insurance interests since 1979. Senator Phil Gramm of Texas, who has received more than $1 million from medical and insurance interests since 1979, has written a bill that would reduce the amount of people who are covered by making individuals responsible for their own insurance, offering tax credits for money paid for health care, but relying on the “free market” to control health costs. Fellow Texas Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison, who has collected more than $377,000 from health interests in the past year, has endorsed Gramm’s bill, which the Fort Worth Star-Telegram neatly summarized: “Don’t Get Sick.” After he voted against tax breaks for Apple Computers because it offered health care for unmarried domestic partners of employees, Williamson County Commissioner David Hays said he did not want to walk into his church and hear people say, ‘That’s the man who let homosexuals into Williamson County.” Last time I checked, one of the Christian works of mercy was to take care of the sick. Why is it that when Commissioner Hays, or Congressman Mike Andrews or Senators Phil Gramm or Kay Bailey Hutchison walk into their respective churches, their preacher doesn’t point them lets poor people go without decent medical care.” Many middle-class people are satisfied with the health care system they now have, because they have adequate health insurance. Your health care is only as secure as your job and ram” THE TEXAS 11P server JANUARY 28, 1994 VOLUME 86, No. 2 FEATURES Downwind from Disaster By Louis Dubose 6 In Trial with the Davidians By Dick Reavis 11 DEPARTMENTS Editorials: Health Care 3 Texas House Races 4 Journal Supreme Court Punts Sodomy By James Cullen 12 Molly Ivins 13 Jim Hightower 14 Las Americas The Strange New Year in Mexico By Charles Wilbanks 15 Books and the Culture Worth It All Book review by James Cullen 16 John Henry Faulk: A Biography Book review by George N. Green 17 Philadelphia Movie review by Steven Kellman 20 Afterword Life and Death in Chiapas By Elias Montaiiez Alvarado 22 Political Intelligence 24 Cover photo by Alan Pogue your employer’s ability to pick up a share of those ever-rising premiums. Every month, 173,000 Texans lose their insurance. Write your U.S. Representative. Write your Senators. Write President Bill Clinton. Ask candidates for the U.S. Senate where they stand. Jim Mattox has said he supports universal health care coverage. That is a step in the right direction. Tell them you support HR 1200, Congressman Jim McDermott’s single-payer bill, and tell them the President’s health plan with universal health care is the minimum you can accept. If they settle for less, then throw them out of Congress and let them pay for their own insurance. J.C. EDITORIALS Health Care: Light a Fuse THE TEXAS OBSERVER 3