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March 16, 1994 - Image 5

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The Michigan Daily, 1994-03-16

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The Michigan Daily -- Wednesday, March 16, 1994 -- 5

*President's health care plan passes first of many hurdles

0 Stark subcommittee
to debate series of
cost issues focused
on health insurance
THE WASHINGTON POST
WASHINGTON - Six months
after President Clinton proposed a
plan to remake the nation's health
system, members of a congressional
subcommittee cast the first votes on
health care reform yesterday, voting
narrowly to require employers to pay
for insurance for their workers.
The House Ways and Means health
subcommittee, launching what will
be months of voting in four major
committees and dozens of subcom-
mittees, voted on a slimmed-down
alternative to the Clinton plan written
by Rep. Fortney "Pete" Stark (D-Ca-
lf.) the subcommittee chair.
The subcommittee voted 6 to 5
against a Republican amendment to
kill the requirement that employers
pay 80 percent of the costs of work-
ers' insurance. The provision, called
an employer mandate," is the key
feature of both Stark's and the
president's plan, and it will likely
face dozens of similar challenges be-
fore the issue is decided.
All but one of the Democrats on
the subcommittee supported the em-
ployer payment provisions. Rep.
Michael A. Andrews (D-Tex.) joined

fourRepublicans in favorof an amend-
ment by Rep. Fred Grandy (R-Iowa)
to strip the employer mandate from
the bill.
"We should not put the burden of
health care squarely on the backs of
business, particularly small business,"
said Grandy. The employer mandate
would destroy up to 1.2 million jobs,
he said.He argued that the nation
should first try reform of insurance
rules.
But Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.)
called efforts to kill the employer
requirement "a dagger in the heart of
the bill."
Stark said a bill without the man-
datory provision "would draw a veto
from the president" because the em-
ployer requirement is the only fea-
sible way to achieve guaranteed cov-
erage of all Americans - including the
39 million who lack insurance.
"It would take out the financing
for universal coverage-pure and
simple," said Rep. Benjamin L.
Cardin (D.- Md.)
The rejection of the Grandy
amendment is only the first of a long
series of votes continuing through the
week in the Stark subcommittee. Af-
ter all amendments to the Stark text
have been voted on, the subcommit-
tee will take up GOP substitutes.
Only if the Stark bill survives these
challenges will it face a final vote in
subcommittee. The plan contains simi-

lar features to Clinton's plan. The
White House has encouraged Stark to
go forward to get health care legisla-
tion moving.
"We've made progress," said Rep.
Sander M. Levin (D-Mich.) after
Tuesday's session, but "I'm not sure
we're any closer in terms of getting a
bill out." He said critical issues re-
main such as phasing in the employer
payment more slowly, finding ways
to soften the impact on small business
paying for insurance for early retirees
and several other matters.
In other votes yesterday, the sub-
committee cut back on the mandatory
payments employers would be re-
quired to make for workers' insur-
ance. A Cardin amendment was ap-
proved, 7 to 4, to limit the employer
liability to the 80 percent of the cost
of low priced insurance rather than
any insurance plan.
Also defeated yesterday by the
same 6-to-5 lineup was a proposal
that tax deductions by employers and
employees for plans be limited. This
procedure is called a "tax cap."
But Democrats Jim McDermott
(Wash.) and Levin argued that for
workers who have consciously given
up pay raises to get good health plans,
this would be a step backward. Levin
said it would be a "massive tax shift"
that would harm modest income work-
ers whose unions had negotiated
health benefits.

Despite scandals,
closer to universa

THE WASHINGTON POST
WASHINGTON -Like pilots
circling for a landing on a small,
fog-shrouded airstrip, the chair of
five key congressional committees
are searching for the compromise
on health care legislation they know
is down there.
"It won't be the Clinton plan,
and it won'tbethe Republican plan,
and it won't be my plan," said Rep.
Jim Cooper, (D-Tenn.) sponsor of
one of the major alternatives under
consideration. "But we are closer
... than we have been since Harry
Truman's time."
Truman's bid for national health
care was thwarted by the opposi-
tion of the American Medical As-
sociation and by the loss of White
House political leverage, partly as a
result of administration scandals.
Last week, some of President
Clinton's allies on Capitol Hill
worried privately that the
Whitewater investigation was dis-
tracting him and first lady Hillary
Rodham Clinton from the full-scale
offensive it will take to enact his
ambitious health care plan over the

heavily financed op
insurers and provide
But so far, the:
inquiry into the Clint(
activities seems only
Congress'sdetermina
on the president's tor
ity. Democratic lead(
can reach his goal of,
age for everyone at
believe the basic arch
plan may survive.
Serious problem
however, in House
dling the issue. Whit
insist that they arei
getting legislation o
but attention has foci
on the Senate as the
needed compromise
House Majority
A. Gephardt, (D-M
"I'm still very optim
together on this sid
Still, he noted tha
cal situation is entirel
the Senate. There are
licans there who are r
here, we have to fit
passage) among De

Congress moves
[ health coverage
position of some we can't count on any Republican
ers. votes.Thetensions between thesingle-
special counsel's payer liberals (who prefer a tax-fi-
ons' past financial nanced, government-administered
to have stiffened system) and the Cooper conserva-
ition topress ahead tives make it very tough."
p legislative prior- The first "markup" sessions in
ers still think they the health subcommittee of the
guaranteed cover- House Ways and Means Com-
ad some of them mittee underlined Gephardt's point.
itureoftheClinton Subcommittee Chair Fortney H.
"Pete" Stark, (D-Calif.) started with
s have emerged, his own variant on the Clinton plan,
committees han- but at week's end was still searching
e House officials for a formula that would attract the
not giving up on votes of all six Democrats on the
)ut of the House, panel. None of the five Republicans
used increasingly has given any indication of support-
arena where the ing the Stark plan.
may be found. A similar drafting effort in the
Leader Richard health subcommittee of the House
4o.) said Friday, Energy and Commerce Committee
istic we can put it was called off when it became clear
e of the Capitol." that subcommittee Chair Henry A.
t "the basic politi- Waxman, (D-Calif.) had no prospect
y different over in of reporting out anything close to the
moderate Repub- Clintonmodel. CommitteeChairJohn
eady to play. Over D. Dingell, (D-Mich.) is searching for
ad 218 votes (for a majority of votes in the full commit-
mocrats, because tee - so far without success.

*Aircraft
crashes
off coast
of Somalia
MOGADISHU, Somalia (AP) -
An American AC-1.30 aerial gunship
crashed into the Indian Ocean off the
Kenyan coast Monday, killing one
crew member and leaving 10 miss-
ing.
Three other crew members were
taken from the water by rescuers, said
Army Col. Steve Rausch. Kenyan
divers and fishing boats, as well as
several U.S. aircraft, were continuing
the search.
The plane had taken off from
Mombasa, Kenya, and was on its way
to Somalia "to conduct a routine mis-
sion" in support of U.S. forces there,
said a Pentagon spokesperson, Cmdr.
Joe Gradisher, in Washington. There
were no early indications that the plane
went down due to hostile fire.
Rausch said the crash would be
investigated, but it appeared to be the
result of a malfunction.

S. Africa to hold first
open elections for all
citizens next month
LOS ANGELES TIMES

SPRINGS, South Africa - De-
mocracy clearly is a bit daunting to
the workers on the afternoon shift at
the giant Impala Platinum Ltd. refin-
ery here.
Eighteen men sit in a small sports
pavilion, listening patiently as Vincent
Ngcobo explains their rights and re-
sponsibilities when South Africa goes
to the polls next month for the first
election in which Blacks are able to
vote after 340 years of white rule.
These men are Black. Their ques-
tions are to the point.
Since Ngcobo keeps referring to
the national election and the new Na-
tional Assembly, does that mean they
must vote for President Frederik W.
de Klerk's National Party? Should
they mark an X on the ballot for the
party they want-oragainsttheparty,
they don't like? Does an X, which
many illiterate people use for a signa-
ture, mean they can be identified later?
Elphus Mokoena, a 29-year-old

machinist, is convinced. He plans to
drive four hours to vote in his home
village. "If I don't vote, maybe my
party will only lose by one vote," he
explains later.
With the April 26-28 vote fast
approaching, a fierce election fever
has swept the land.
Although headlines focus on
South Africa's continuing violence
and on the daily campaigning by De
Klerk and his chief rival, Nelson
Mandela, the critical challenge lies
behind the scenes in scores of voter
education programs like this one.
About 22.5 million South Afri-
cans will be eligible to vote - up to
18 million for the first time.
"One of the biggest problems is
the uncertainty" of recentpolitical
developments, says Barry Gilder, head
of the IndependentForum for Elec-
toral Education, an umbrella group of
40 non-governmental organizations
running voter programs..

AP PHOTO

U.S. Army personnel recover the body of an American soldier after the crash of
Spectre Gunship off the coast of Somalia.

a U.S. Air Force, AC-130H

Kenya borders Somalia to the
south and has long served as a base
for both U.S. military and humani-
tarian efforts aimed at Somalia.
Rausch said two 60mm mortar

shells exploded Monday evening near
Mogadishu's seaport, where 320
American soldiers were awaiting ship-
ment to Mombasa aboard a Navy
transport ship.One of the shells fell

near the port's main gate, the other
just outside, Rausch said, but neither
caused any injuries.
The last of the American troops
are due to leave March 25.

Former legislative aide conquers primanes

LANSING (AP) - A former leg-
islative aide won a special primary in
the western Upper Peninsula yester-
day, setting the stage for a political
showdown over control of the Michi-
gan House.
With 71 percent of the vote
counted, Paul Tesanovich, of L'Anse,
had 8,703, or 91 percent, while wel-
fare rights organizer Gerald Gerbig,
of Ramsay, had 898, or 9 percent.
Tesanovich was a House liaison
in the Upper Peninsula for House
Democratic Leader Curtis Hertel. He
lost the 1992 Democratic primary to
former state Rep. Steve Shepich.
Tesanovich will take on former
state Rep. Stephen Dresch in a special
election on April 26.
That race figures to be a hard-
fought contest since it offers Repub-
licans a chance to take control of the
House for the first time since 1968.
Dresch, a Hancock Republican,
gave up the seat in 1992 after a single
term for an unsuccessful run for the
U.S. House. He didn't face any pri-
mary opposition yesterday.
If Dresch can regain the seat, it
would give Republicans the 56th seat
needed to take control of the 110-

vided between the two parties, but the
GOP has a temporary 55-52 edge
with vacancies in three Democratic
seats.
Shepich (D-Iron River) won the
seat in 1992, but resigned Jan.25 after
pleading guilty to a felony tied to the
House Fiscal Agency scandal.
His resignation was part of a plea
bargain arranged with state prosecu-
tors investigating $1.8 million in mis-
spending at the House Fiscal Agency.
Democrats are expected to retain
control of the other two vacant House
seats, while Republicans figure tokeep
a vacant state Senate seat.
The other House seats were va-
cated by Reps. Charlie Harrison, of
Pontiac, and David Hollister, of Lan-
sing, who won mayoral races in their

hometowns.
In the Pontiac district, longtime
Oakland County Commissioner
Hubert Price, a Democrat, didn't face
any primary foe. He moved automati-
cally into the April 26 special elec-
tion.
He'll take on John Demers, who
won the GOP primary over political
novice Dennis Carter. Demers won
with 2,498 votes, or61 percent. Carter
got 1,590, or 39 percent.
Hollister's vacant seat attracted
two candidates from each party.

In the Democratic primary, State'
Board of Education member Barbara
Roberts Mason and five-term Ingham
County Commissioner Lynne
Martinez were running in aclose race.
In the GOP primary, Maureen
Bowyer was leading home improve-
ment contractor Jeff Brenner.
The Senate seat was vacated in
January after Vernon Ehlers left the
post to become U.S. Representative.
He replaced U.S. Rep. Paul Henry, a
five-term Grand Rapids Republican
who died of brain cancer in July.

POSITIONS AVAILABLE
Michigan Student Assembly is looking for students who are interested in
getting involved! The Campus Governance Committee of MSA has positions
open for students on a variety of campus committees. If you are interested in
applying for one of the following positions, pick up an application outside of the
Michigan Student Assembly offices on the third floor of the Union. All position
terms begin in September of 1994. Deadline for applications is April 1. 1994.
Thank You!
Academic Affairs Committee (1 student)
Civil Liberties Board (3 students-2 undergrads, I grad)
Financial Affairs Advisory Committee (2 students-I undergrad, I grad)
Government Relations Advisory Committee (2 students)
Committee for a Multicultural University (4 students-2 undergrads, 2 grads)
Research Policies Committee (4 students-l undergrad, 3 grads)
Student Relations Advisory Committee (4 students-2 undergrads, 2 grads)
If you have any questions, or would like more information, please
contact Julie Neenan, Chairperson of Campus Governance Committee, at the
MSA offices 763-3241.

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