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2 SUGGESTING A SCALED-DOWN HEALTH PLAN

SHARE 2 SUGGESTING A SCALED-DOWN HEALTH PLAN

Two members of Congress say it would be in President Clinton's best interest to sign some kind of modest health-reform proposal, but it remains to be seen whether lawmakers can deliver one to him.

Republican Sen. Richard Lugar and Democratic Rep. Lee Hamilton, both of Indiana, agreed Sunday that Congress should press ahead with the issue of health reform when it returns from summer recess in two weeks.Lugar, appearing on NBC's "Meet the Press," said a number of related issues, including whether to allow workers to keep their benefits when they change jobs and whether to block insurers from denying coverage to already ill people, should be discussed.

"These are things that people want in a bipartisan sense," he said. "I think the president will sign it. It would be to his credit if he did."

"I think it's very much in his interest that he would sign a reasonable, incremental approach, because . . . it would bring about some improvement in the health care for many Americans, even though it would fall short of his goals," said Hamilton, who appeared on the same program.

The lawmakers, however, said they didn't know whether Congress would pass such legislation and, if it did, whether Clinton would sign it.

"It's a close call as to whether or not we'll get it done," Hamilton said.