PATIENTS’ RIGHTS: White House, Republicans Deny Deal
According to two senior advisers, President Clinton has consented to $350 billion of Republican tax cuts over the next five years in exchange for passage of a patients' bill of rights, the Bloomberg News/Washington Times reports. White House spokesperson Jim Kennedy denied the deal, however, saying that he had "no reason to believe that report is true."
According to Republican leaders, such a compromise remains heavily in doubt. "We do not want to create a new tidal wave of lawsuits that drive up insurance premiums for everybody and we're not going to be blackmailed into that by any tradeoffs," Michele Davis, a spokesperson for House Majority Leader Dick Armey (R-Texas), said. Although both the White House and Republican leaders deny a deal is in the works, Clinton will hold a meeting next week with House and Senate negotiators to urge them to move patients' bill of rights legislation forward. "The concept of a tradeoff of tax cuts for action on the patients' rights or the drug benefit is a scenario that I think is a very real one," industry analyst Ira Loss, said (Cain, 5/5).