US Governors Are Split On Health-Care Financing

THE nation's governors support the president's goal of providing health insurance to all Americans, but are split on whether employers should have to pick up the burden, Gov. Carroll Campbell (R) of South Carolina told Congress Wednesday.

That prompted Rep. Bob Matsui (D) of California to challenge Mr. Campbell, the National Governors' Association chairman, to identify a better way to provide coverage. ``You have a goal of universal coverage, but you don't tell us how to get there,'' Mr. Matsui said. ``We have a disagreement in our association, just like you do here,'' Campbell said, noting that many congressmen oppose President Clinton's proposal to require employers to pay 80 percent of their workers' health insurance.

Vermont Gov. Howard Dean (D), who supports employer mandates, and Campbell said states want a federal framework on health care that creates ``rules of the game.''

Governors support many plan goals, but there are trouble spots. The governors:

* Support creation of regional purchasing alliances at the state level but are divided on whether they should be mandatory. Mr. Clinton's plan would require alliances.

* Want a change in the way boundaries are drawn for alliances. The plan would ban dividing metropolitan statistical areas into different alliances to stop discriminatory practices. Governors want to prohibit discrimination but want waivers to divide metro areas so they could include rural areas or draw boundaries across state lines.

* Have problems with Clinton's plan giving the federal government and states direct oversight and regulatory control over alliances and health plans. The association urges that the federal government provide, not direct, oversight.

* Back budget ``targets'' at the beginning of national reform, not enforceable premium caps called for in the plan. Brock May Run for Senate

Former Tennessee Sen. William Brock (R) has formed a committee to examine his prospects for unseating Maryland Sen. Paul Sarbanes (D) next year. Mr. Brock expects to make a decision by early February.

Brock had considered running for governor of Maryland this year, but instead went to work raising money for delegate Ellen Sauerbrey, 1 of 3 leading Republican candidates in the race.

``There seems to be a ground swell of support across Maryland for him to be our candidate,'' said Allan Levey, former chairman of the Maryland Republican Party.

The Baltimore Sun reported yesterday that Brock's trade-consulting firm got $934,000 from the Mexican government to work for passage of the North American Free Trade Agreement. Brock said his firm ``provided strategic advice to the Mexican government'' on winning NAFTA passage. Mr. Sarbanes voted against NAFTA.

Brock told The Sun he would not represent an overseas client in opposition to national policy, and that he would not take on a cause that he didn't advocate while a government official.

He spent eight years in the House before unseating Vice President Al Gore Jr's father, Albert, a senator, in 1970. After losing a 1976 reelection bid, he became Republican national chairman. He became US Trade Representative, then labor secretary, under President Reagan. He lived in Montgomery County from 1966 to 1971 while representing Tennessee in Congress and has lived in Maryland since 1985.

of stories this month > Get unlimited stories
You've read  of  free articles. Subscribe to continue.

Unlimited digital access $11/month.

Get unlimited Monitor journalism.