A first: Health plan released on disks


WASHINGTON -- In an Information Age first, the White House yesterday gave reporters its hefty 1,336-page health-care reform plan on a pair of computer disks weighing less than 2 ounces.

"Hey, this is the '90s. We're against killing trees," White House press secretary Dee Dee Myers said.

Perhaps more important, the White House simultaneously distributed electronic copies of the plan to a federal computer bulletin board and a computer at the University of North Carolina. That made it instantly available to the estimated 15 million to 20 million people worldwide who tap into the global electronic neighborhood called Internet.

So at the same time reporters in Washington were scanning the documents, anyone with a personal computer and a modem could get the plan for the cost of a telephone call.

At 12:02 p.m., the Health Security Act showed up on FedWorld, an electronic gateway to more than 120 bulletin boards operated by federal agencies and departments. So did a 152-page "Report to America," an explanation of the plan written in everyday English.

Although this was the first time the administration gave reporters material on computer disk, the computer-savvy Clinton team has been feeding its message to the electronic highway since the Democratic convention in July 1992, said Jock Gill, director of electronic publishing at the White House.


How to retrieve the plan: FedWorld can be reached at 703-321-8020 or through the Internet.

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