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October 12, 1995 - Image 8

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The Michigan Daily, 1995-10-12

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3A - The Michigan Daily - Thursday, October 12, 1995
Panel approves
$270B cut from
Medicare growth

"Airlow/woltILD

Los Angeles Times
WASHINGTON-The House Ways
and Means Committee yesterday ap-
proved a plan to cut Medicare growth
by $270 billion over seven years, mark-
ing another crucial step in the GOP
drive to balance the budget and
downsize government.
Buoyed by a last-minute American
Medical Association endorsement of
the plan at a controversial meeting with
House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.),
the Republican-controlled committee
swept aside Democratic objections and
voted 22 to 14, along straight party
lines, to send to the House floor next
week the largest cuts ever proposed in
the program's 30-year history.
TheHouseGommerceCommittee,which
has cojurisdiction, was expected to add its
approval of the bill sometime before mid-
night. The Senate Finance Committee has
approved a similar measure.
Besides slowing the growth of spend-
ing from an "unsustainable" 10 percent
a year to about 6.4 percent, the bill
mandates a major restructuring of the
program to give Medicare enrollees a
wide range of options to join private
health plans with the government pay-
ing most of the premiums.
"Medicare is going broke and it can

no longerbe savedthrough quick fixes,"
declared Ways and Mean Chairman Bill
Archer (R-Texas), who steered the bill
through three days of partisan wran-
gling. "The Republican plan will save
Medicare until the eve of the baby-
boomer retirement" in about 2010. "It
gives seniors options for choosing the
health care they believe is best."
But Democrats said the proposed cuts,
an unprecedented $270 billion, are so
large because Republicans need huge
amounts to offset their proposed $245
billion tax cut for the well-to-do.
The AMA, which has )ong favored
the general direction ofthe GOPbill but
recently raised concerns about the way
the bill would reduce fees for doctors
treating Medicare patients, announced
its endorsement Tuesday evening at a
meeting in Gingrich's office.
AMA officials said Gingrich had
agreed to fee changes that would avoid
"billions" in fee reductions for doctors
over the next seven years, sparking
Democratic charges of closed-door deal
making. "The AMA took Gingrich's
bribe of $3 billion to support a bill that
rations health care for seniors," charged
Rep. Fortney "Pete" Stark (D-Calif.).
Republicans, rushing to control the
damage, said yesterday that the changes

AP PHOTO
Rep. William Thomas, (R-Cailf.), speaks before the House Ways and Means Committee during a Medicare hearing yesterday.

in fees are justified and would be far less,
more like $300 million to $400 million
over seven years, according to Rep. Bill
Thomas (R-Calif.), chairman ofthe Ways
and Means Medicare subcommittee.
Late yesterday AMA General Counsel
Kirk Johnson, who had used the term
"billions," said, "There was no number
agreed upon by the speaker, only an as-
surance that absolute reductions in fees
would be avoided. The existing House
and Senate bills already corrected a sig-
nificant part of the problem involving
most of the 'billions' that were men-
tioned."

Archer, Thomas and others said the
Medicare hospital trust fund (Part A) is
projected to become insolvent in 2002
and the deep cuts in program growth are
needed to help shore it up and also to
slow the growth ofthe doctor insurance
part of the program (Part B), which,
while not technically facing insolvency,
is growing explosively.
But Ways and Means Democrats,
including Reps. Sam Gibbons of Florida
and Ben Cardin of Maryland, said only
about $90 billion in savings from Part A
is needed to keep that trust fund solvent
until 2006. That would leave a decade,

they said, for Congress and the White
House to work out a fair, well-thought-
out, non-partisan plan to solve
Medicare's financial problems.
Such a plan, they said, might avoid
some of the problems of the GOP's
current plan. The GOP plan, Democrats
charged, will bring higher premiums
for beneficiaries, drastic cuts in pay-
ments to hospitals and other providers
of health care, hospital shutdowns, will
discourage doctors from treating Medi-
care patients and force many low-in-
come seniors to join private health-
mainternance organizations.

Study: Half
of teens
atisk of
hurting lives
Los Angeles Times
WASHINGTON-In an indictment
of family, school and community ef-
forts to nurture young adolescents, a
majorphilanthropic foundation has con-
cluded a 10-year study by warning that
half the United States' youth are at risk
of damaging their lives through harm-
ful behavior.
Although thejourney from childhood
to adolescence has always been peril-
ous, the report by the Carnegie Corp.
says, profound societal changes have
left young Americans with less adul
supervision while subjecting them
growing pressure to experiment wi
drugs, engage in sex, and turn to vi
lence to resolve conflicts.
"The social costs of severely damag
ing conditions that shatter.lives in ad
lescence are terrible not only in thei
impact on individuals but also in effec
that damage the entire society - th
costs of disease and disability, ign
rance and incompetence, crime and vi
lence, alienation and hatred," the repo
says.
The study was conducted by th
Carnegie Council on Adolescent D
velopment, a group of 27 prominen
scholars, educators, physicians; psy
chologists, theologians, former andcur
rent public officials, and others.
Their report focuses on children ag
10 to 14 and argues that conditions c
be turned around through a concerte
effort by family members, educators
journalists, civic leaders and publi
policy-makers.
The answer is to provide young peopl
with close relationships with dependabl
adults and to instill in them the belieft
they have opportunities in mainstrea
society, according to the report.
"Early adolescence - the phase dur
ing which young people are just begin
ning to engage in very risky behaviors
but before damaging patterns have be
come firmly established - offers a
excellent opportunity for interventio
to prevent later casualties and promo
successful adult lives," the report states
Because of the awkwardness ofyoun
teens and their penchant for buckin
the authority of parents and teachers
this opportunity largely has been ne
glected, the report says.
As the risk to adolescents has risen
so have the costs of ignoring them, th
report says.

Review panels recommend revising biased history standards

Los Angeles Times
Stepping back from the broadsides launched by
conservaive critics, two independent review pan-
els of historians, educators and civic leaders said
yesterday newly developed national history stan-
dards for elementary and secondary students are
biased, but should be revised and retained.
But, they said, thousands of teaching examples
provided to supplement the learning standards
came dangerously close to promoting a national
curriculum and should be eliminated.
The panels, led by a former Republican gover-
nor and a university president, drew a sharp dis-
tinction between the standards themselves -
some 70 broad statements of what all American
children are expected to learn about world and
U.S. history - and the accompanying segments
called "examples of student achievement."
Written by teachers, the examples offered ways
to engage students in more than rote memoriza-
tion of facts, asking them to weigh and analyze
historical evidence and construct arguments

through debates, plays and other lively classroom
activities.
But, lending validity to many of the barbs from

- could lead to

wrong impressions about the

critics such as presidential contenders Patrick
Buchanan and Sen. Bob Dole
(R-Kan.) the panels said nu-
merous examples reflected We are
unsound historical scholar-
ship "by asking leading ques- in our adi
tions or by inviting students
to make easy moral judg- removing
ments" about unresolved his-
torical issues. examples
They said the standards
failed to give a complete pic-
ture of American history, Chair, hiStor
slighting in particular "such
presences as (George) Washington and (Thomas)
Jefferson and seminal documents such as the Bill
of Rights and the Constitution."
The panels also concluded that the sheer volume
of teaching examples offered - more than 2,500

re
ry

purpose of the voluntary standards.
"We are strong in our advocacy of removing the
examples," said former Minnesota Gov. Albert
Quie, who chaired the U.S.
history review panel. "Other
St g than the fact there was more
bias in the examples than in
acacy of the standards, the fact they
are so voluminous causes
he apeople to misinterpret them
and think of them as curricu-
lum.... It is clear the public
- Albert Que does not want a national cur-
riculum."
review panel The recommendations
pleased some critics, who
called the proposal to drop the teaching examples
a step in the right direction. But they failed to
mollify others, who would simply like to see the
whole project scrapped.
"There is still so much skepticism out there,"

said Jeanne Allen, president of the Center for
Education Reform in Washington. "There is a
question out there: what are these standards for?
Are they supposed to be a blueprint for assessing
how our states or communities should be teaching
history, or are they rallying cries for social thought?
What they seemed to do was the latter.
"Many people are wondering whether there is
any role for a national commission in devising
standards," she said, "and whether that should
be totally a state role or even more, a district
role."
The review boards were convened by the Coun-
cil for Basic Education, a nonprofit organization
advocating school reform, in response to criticism
that the standards - developed over three years
with the help of more than 35 organizations,
including historians, school superintendents and
teachers - sacrificed traditional history on an
altar of political correctness.
The panels reviewed three volumes of guide-
lines on the teaching of U.S. and world history.

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