WELFARE: CLINTON SAYS HE’LL SIGN GOP’S REFORM BILL
President Clinton said yesterday that he plans to sign aThis is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.
Republican-sponsored welfare reform bill, "virtually ensuring"
the enactment of a bill that would end the current federal
welfare program and replace it with a state block grant program,
SALT LAKE TRIBUNE reports. The House overwhelmingly passed the
conference report version of the bill yesterday, and the Senate
is expected to do the same today (8/1). Clinton said, "We have
an historic opportunity to make welfare what it was meant to be:
A second chance, not a way of life" (Toedtman/Kasindorf/Young,
SAVINGS, AT WHAT COST?: TRIBUNE reports that the measure
would save at least $55 billion over six years with "most" of the
cuts coming from "denying" health services, food stamps and cash
to legal immigrant noncitizens (8/1). "Nearly" 40% of the
savings in the bill would come from eliminating aid, including
Medicaid, to current and future legal immigrants, according to
the WASHINGTON POST (Sun/Claiborne, 8/1).
SMILES AND OUTRAGE: TRIBUNE notes that Clinton's
endorsement "left Republicans smiling and liberal advocacy groups
outraged." Republicans "celebrated Clinton's decision as an
example of how closely the Republicans reflect American
principles" (8/1). CBS' Braver reported, "Liberal Democrats
claimed the president had betrayed them in order to get re-
elected" ("Evening News," 7/31). According to Clinton advisors,
the president's endorsement of the legislation "has effectively
eliminated welfare as an issue" in the election (TRIBUNE, 8/1).
The Children's Defense Fund (CDF) said the bill will make "more
than one million additional children poor," and CDF President
Marian Wright Edelman added that the bill "will leave a moral
blot on [Clinton's] presidency and on our nation that will never
be forgotten" (CDF release, 7/31).
NOT A PERFECT "10": Appearing "grim and strained" by
debates between White House aides over the decision, Clinton said
that the legislation was "far from perfect" and that there are
"parts of it that are wrong" (Wetzstein/Bedard, WASHINGTON TIMES,
8/1). The president said that the "would ask Congress later to
modify" some of the provisions that he opposes, including cuts in
food stamp benefits and bans on most forms of public assistance
for legal immigrant noncitizens (Pear, NEW YORK TIMES, 8/1).
REGIONAL REVERB: New York Gov. George Pataki (R) and New
York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani (R) said yesterday that the bill
would cause state and city Medicaid costs to "spiral" up because
"the new law would end federal Medicaid" reimbursements for New
York's 100,000-plus legal immigrant noncitizens (Dicker, NEW YORK
POST, 8/1). The Health Care Association of New York estimated
that the loss would cost state hospitals between $1 billion and
$1.8 billion. Additionally, Pataki said, "If, in fact, federal
Medicaid funds are cut for people legally receiving Medicaid in
New York State, it could be in the hundreds of millions of
dollars" (NEWSDAY, 8/1). LOS ANGELES TIMES reports that the
"financial brunt" of the new bill "will fall on California"
because it is home to "at least 40%" of the nations legal
immigrants, half of whom reside in Los Angeles County (8/1).