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December 15, 1989 - Image 34

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1989-12-15

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

I INSIDE WASHINGTON

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of
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Ticklish Topic Of Health Care
Is Drawing Jewish Activists

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FRIDAY, DECEMBER. 15, 1989

designed to get input from
the elderly about how the
program should be financed
and how services should be
delivered.
And Jewish groups are
eagerly awaiting the results
of the research, hoping that
it will give them clues about
how to line up their own
memberships up behind the
measure and avoid a repeat
of the political catastrophe
over catastrophic coverage.
Two Jewish congressmen,
Rep. Willis Gradison, R-
Ohio, and Rep. Henry Wax-
man, D-Calif., have been
leaders in the push for long-
term health coverage.

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ewish activists are
beginning to cast a
wary eye on long term
health care legislation, a top
priority for many Jewish
groups here as the elderly
become an increasing pro-
portion of the Jewish
population.
But like Congress, Jewish
groups were burned by last
year's catastrophic health
insurance bill, which was
rescinded by Congress after
a ferocious hue and cry from
constituents enraged by the

surtax that funded the pro-
gram.
"There have been very
preliminary, very nervous
discussions with Congress
about this," said one official
with a major Jewish
organization here. "But
we're getting the feeling
that nobody wants to touch
this; people were so shocked
and so hurt by the backlash
against the catastrophic bill
that they don't want to get
close to this one."
Recently, the special con-
gressional commission set
up to look into long-term
care issues began
distributing questionnaires

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As the tide in Congress
continues to shift in favor of
expanding the list of capital
crimes, pragmatic Jewish
activists are also working to
ensure that the new legisla-
tion includes provisions to
guarantee that the punish-
ment is applied as fairly as
poSsible.
"It is a difficult balance,"
said Sammie Moshenberg,
Washington representative
for the National Council of
Jewish Women, a group that
has consistently worked
against the death penalty.
"Obviously, we try to defeat
legislation extending the
death penalty. But when
that legislation is inevitable,
we go for as many
safeguards as we can."
Moshenberg pointed to the
leading role of Sen. Carl
Levin, D-Mich., in opposing

Sen. Levin:
Opposition leader.

the recent tide of legislation
expanding the death penal-
ty.
In the recent drug bill, the
NCJW, American Jewish

Committee and other groups
convinced Congress to in-
clude a long list of excep-
tions — including exceptions
for the mentally retarded
and very young criminals .
The bill also contains new
procedures for appeal that
will add additional
safeguards to the capital
punishment process.
Now, these groups are
promoting the Racial Justice
Act, a measure that would
allow the use of statistics on
racial and ethnic patterns in
the application of the death
penalty as part of the ap-
peals process.
In the Senate, the bill cur-
rently is part of Sen. Strom
Thurmond's federal death
penalty bill and, at the same
time, a freestanding mea-
sure. Making matters more

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