At-home care for aged urged for health plan


WASHINGTON -- White House advisers are recommendin that President Clinton include benefits for at-home care for the disabled and elderly in his health-care overhaul plan, according to sources.

With Mr. Clinton expected to make initial decisions on the plan later this week, advisers are pushing for a $15 billion-to-$20 billion program that would provide at-home care services, such as dressing and meal preparation.

All disabled or elderly would be covered regardless of age or income, the sources said yesterday.

Although scores of key decisions still remain, the administration's overall health-care plan is shaping up as a two-tier system, with a nationally guaranteed benefit package that would be financed largely by employers and the federal government and separate benefits for the disabled and seniors that would require additional federal funds.

Most Americans would receive only the core benefit package. Mr. Clinton's advisers have drafted at least one such package, estimated to cost the federal government about $50 billion a year.

That package would be paid for with savings, shared contributions from employers and employees and taxes on cigarettes and health providers, administration sources say.

But officials are still scrambling to make these numbers add up to pay for the draft package, which would include mental health benefits, prescription drugs and health care for Medicaid recipients, the sources said.

Medicaid would be eliminated.

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