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First Lady Pitches Health Care Reform Plan to UAHC Gathering

October 25, 1993
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Hillary Rodham Clinton pitched her health care reform plan to a large gathering of Reform Jews here and told them she identifies strongly with their commitment to social justice.

The first lady, who has been touring the country to promote the health care reform package, received a warm reception from more than 4,000 Reform Jews who welcomed her here last Friday to the 62nd biennial convention of the Union of American Hebrew Congregations.

In a speech sprinkled with references to Judaism, Clinton announced a change in the reform plan that would require health maintenance organizations to allow patients to get partial coverage when they seek treatment from a specialist or hospital not connected to the HMO.

This new policy, known as “point of service,” would mean that HMO members would not have to foot the entire bill themselves when seeking treatment outside their health plan, as they do now.

Point of service policies, while still rare, are reportedly becoming increasingly popular.

The health care reform package is scheduled to be introduced to Congress this week.

Clinton lauded the Reform Jews, who enthusiastically applauded her health care proposals.

“You know that ‘reform’ is not just a verb, but a moral imperative we all need to heed,” she said.

“The president and I draw strength from your commitment, and the meaning we derived from Shabbat and Passover seders with friends, and the constant pricking of conscience that so many of you are better at than anyone else,” she said.

Clinton compared the effort to provide universal health care coverage with the message embodied in the Torah portion that Jews would be reading the next morning during Shabbat services.

“Abraham receives a command to leave his father’s house and meet new challenges God has put before him,” she said. She also cited the 12th-century scholar and physician Maimonides as someone who stressed the importance of preventive health care, as she listed procedures the president wants included in the reform package.

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