WHILE I AM and have been a strong advocate for universal entitlement to health services for all Americans, the failure of the Clinton Plan in 1994, the concerns we all had with the compromises necessary in that plan to achieve even a basic package of services for all children, and the resultant impact on children, have caused me to reconsider whether we should not, as pediatricians, get behind a children-first program (which would include maternal health care) and deal with the issue of who controls this system. These issues are closely related.
First, why a "Children and Mothers First" bill? It became apparent in the 1994 debate that to provide access to even a minimal package of services for all of our citizens was so costly that, in the present political climate, it was unlikely to be deemed affordable. In the process of reducing the package to a minimal base,