WASHINGTON -- After much criticism of the secrecy surrounding the work of his health policy team, President Clinton abandoned yesterday his effort to conceal the names of more than 500 people who are developing his proposal to guarantee health insurance coverage for all Americans.
With the identities of many of those people having already circulated around Washington, the White House acknowledged that its attempt to keep secret the identities had failed. It reluctantly issued a listing of all 511 staff members of the health-care task force.
"Most of that list has been circulating around town for weeks," said Michael D. Bromberg, executive director of the Federation of American Health Systems, which represents 1,400 hospitals.
Of the 511 people listed by the White House, 412 are described as full-time employees of the government. Eighty-two are described as special, or temporary, employees. And 17 are described as consultants.
More than 130 of those described as full-time government employees work for members of Congress or for congressional committees.
At least seven Marylanders are on the list. They are Diane Rowland, Richard Frank, Karen Davis, all affiliated with John Hopkins University; Ross Arnett and Max Buffington of the Health Care Financing Administration; Sean Cavanaugh, a member of the staff of Rep. Ben Cardin, D-Md., and Robyn Lipner, a member of the staff of Sen. Barbara Mikulski, D-Md.
In the past, Robert O. Boorstin, a spokesman for the Task Force on National Health Care Reform, had said the White House would not identify people working for the panel out of concern that they would be pestered by lobbyists or journalists.
But yesterday, White House spokesmen said they were making the list public now because some of the unofficial lists published or otherwise circulated had been incomplete or inaccurate.