Bush, Clinton, and the Health-Plan Comparison

The front-page article "Bush, Clinton Health Plans Are Dramatically Different," Aug. 11, claims the Bill Clinton plan is different in all the right ways, making it more of an editorial than a news story.

It asserts that the Clinton plan will save $20 billion to $30 billion. Estimates from the Urban Institute, however, show that the payroll tax attached to the plan will cost employers $29.7 billion upfront, translating into the loss of hundreds of thousands of jobs.

It also presumes that a Clinton reform package would be embraced by a Democratic-controlled Congress, whereas a Bush plan would be "dead on arrival." Actually, congressional Democrats are split three ways on the issue. Some support single-payer reform, others the "pay or play" plan, and others incremental reform. But the most spurious claim made by the article is that health-care reform won't happen during a Bush second term - because the president's heart isn't in it. This weighty analysis comes, not fr om a White House source or GOP activist, but from Judith Feder, an adviser to the Clinton campaign. Mark D. Epley, Arlington, Va.

Letters are welcome. Only a selection can be published, subject to condensation, and none acknowledged. Please address them to "Readers Write," One Norway St., Boston, MA 02115.

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