President Bill Clinton is once again tapping his Hollywood connections, this time as part of the White House Task Force on National Health Care Reform.
Barbra Streisand, TriStar Pictures chairman Mike Medavoy, Show Coalition co-founder Patricia Duff Medavoy, “Family Ties” producer Gary David Goldberg and Creative Artists Agency movie agent Shelly Hochron were among Hollywood executives and talent to meet with Clinton administration representatives on Saturday.
The Hollywood experts were called to meetings on Saturday with White House adviser Ira Magaziner and White House communications directors to strategize “an effort to communicate” the merits of National Health Care Reform to the American public, according to Medavoy.
The Health Care Reform package currently includes controversial proposals that would require businesses to provide health insurance to their employees and pay at least 75% of the premiums, force American wage earners to bear a new “health care unemployment insurance” tax and ease the burden on small businesses , low-wage earners and the self-employed through federal subsidies, according to a Los Angeles Times report.
Medavoy confirmed Friday that the discussion would center on how best to sell the merits of Health Care Reform to the American public. He added that it was too soon to say whether movie and television producers would be tapped upon to produce commercials on behalf of National Health Care Reform.
Spearheaded by First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton, the Task Force on National Health Care Reform will officially deliver its final recommendations for overhauling the American health-care system in the next few weeks.
Task force members are expecting to be buffeted by lobbyists and special-interest groups as they prepare their recommendations. According to a New York Times report, the American Medical Assn. and the Chamber of Commerce of the United States are among the powerful organizations clamoring for a chance to deliver their views on health care reform.
President Clinton has promised to deliver a bill on Health Care Reform to Congress by May 1.
The weekend meetings underscore the Clinton Administration’s consistent use of the television and movie industry to advance its political agenda. The tack was underscored by the participation of “Evening Shade” and “Designing Women” producers Harry Thomason and Linda Bloodworth-Thomason as advisers to Clinton’s campaign and inauguration.
Participation of industryites in Saturday’s meeting could not be confirmed over the weekend. White House Special Assistant to the President for Policy Coordination Bob Boorstin did not return phone calls yesterday seeking comment on the substance of Saturday’s meeting.