Can Clinton Sway Health Reform's Most Crucial Critic?

As President Clinton's advisers put finishing touches on the Administration's plan for health-care reform, they're focusing on its toughest critics. No, not doctors, hospitals, employers, or any other health-care interests. The last and highest hurdles the plan faces--before being introduced as legislation--are the anonymous analysts at the Congressional Budget Office. The CBO has the final say in "scoring" the impact of health reform on the deficit. Under the enforcement rules of the just passed deficit-reduction plan, the health program can't increase red ink in the short run. And to fulfill Clinton's promises, it must trim spending after 1998.

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