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Medicaid failings blamed on "slave owner' mentality

Surgeon General Joycelyn Elders said that Medicaid must have been developed by "a white male slaveowner" because "it fails to provide services to poor women to prevent unwanted pregnancies, and this failure contributes to poverty, ignorance and enslavement."

Elders made the comments in a speech at the annual meeting of the National Family Planning and Reproductive Health Association, which represents more than 4,000 family planning clinics.

"White male slave owners wanted a lot of healthy slaves, people to work. We don't need slaves any more. We need healthy, educated, motivated children with hope. We need to really invest in family planning."

State Medicaid programs generally must cover family planning services and supplies, but many low-income women do not qualify.

Outlook grim for deficit measure

Three senators joined opponents of the balanced budget amendment Friday, moving the proposal within a hair's breadth of defeat just four days before a showdown vote. Sens. Kent Conrad, D-N.D., Harry Reid, D-Nev., and Ted Stevens, R-Alaska, all stated their opposition to the plan, bringing to 30 the number of publicly declared opponents. Thirty-four votes will be needed to kill the measure because constitutional amendments need two-thirds majorities of the Senate and House to pass. The amendment would forbid budget deficits beginning in 2001, unless three-fifths of the members of each chamber vote otherwise.

Briefly . . .

PACKWOOD MAKES PLEA TO SUPREME COURT: Sen. Bob Packwood, R-Ore., asked Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist on Friday to block the transfer of his diaries to the Senate Ethics Committee while he appeals the panel's subpoena. A federal judge had ordered the diaries turned over to the committee, which is investigating allegations of sexual misconduct, witness intimidation and obstruction of the inquiry.

SENATOR RE-INDICTED: Sen. Dave Durenberger, R-Minn., has been re-indicted by a federal grand jury on charges that he abused his Senate expense account.