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DOLE MAY MAKE HEALTH REFORM A CAMPAIGN ISSUE

SHARE DOLE MAY MAKE HEALTH REFORM A CAMPAIGN ISSUE

Senate Republican Leader Bob Dole said Saturday he has "reached a point" where he would try to block health legislation and put the issue at the center of this fall's political campaigns if Democrats insist that employers must pay for their workers' insurance.

Speaking at a GOP meeting in Boston, Dole also criticized President Clinton's handling of the nuclear inspection standoff with North Korea and said Republicans should campaign on the theme that Clinton has failed to show global leadership.Dole predicted death for two Clinton-style Democratic health-care plans now moving in the Senate. One, drafted by Massachusetts Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, was passed 11-6 by his Senate Labor Committee.

"That's as far as it is going to go," Dole said of the Kennedy plan, which would finance universal health coverage through an employer mandate.

The second plan Dole skewered is the work of Senate Finance Chairman Daniel Patrick Moynihan of New York and also requires most employers to provide health coverage to their workers. If there is to be a bipartisan deal on health-care reform, most believe it will originate in Finance, through negotiations between Dole and Moynihan.