Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Clinton Talks Up Health Care in Kansas `Cut Down on the Rhetoric, Turn Up the Action,' He Says

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Clinton Talks Up Health Care in Kansas `Cut Down on the Rhetoric, Turn Up the Action,' He Says

Article excerpt

Pressing Congress to deliver on promises of health-care reform, President Bill Clinton opened a Midwest swing Thursday by declaring that it's time to "cut down on the rhetoric, turn up the action."

Clinton began a two-day tour of America's heartland before an enthusiastic crowd of Kansans crammed into a Topeka airport hangar. He denounced what he called a Washington culture where "every debate took on more rhetoric than reality and shed more heat than light."

With a giant flag fluttering behind him, Clinton insisted that the United States "can do better" than its current health-care system. He said the system now leaves 58 million uninsured in any given week and millions more underinsured or afraid to change jobs.

"Instead of paralyzing extremism, what this country needs is moderate, aggressive, progressivism by people who are dedicated to getting together and getting things done," Clinton said. "Cut down on the rhetoric, turn up the action, put people first and move the country forward."

Applying that reasoning directly to health care, he declared, "If we cool the rhetoric and talk about the facts and have practical and compassionate approaches to this, we will solve this problem."

The president is traveling this week to try to generate grass-roots support for his health-care reform plan while members of Congress are at home on spring break. He is hoping for a shift in focus after weeks in which questions about the Whitewater affair claimed the spotlight.

Later Thursday, Clinton met with six small-business owners at a foundry to talk about the high costs of health coverage. All were eager for relief from rising premiums, but some were wary of their potential costs under the Clinton plan, which would require all businesses to provide insurance for their workers.

He acknowledged that the so-called employer mandate is the most difficult issue to resolve if he hopes to win congressional passage of his plan. …

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