Harry and Louise-that lovable, angst-filled, controversial TV couple brought to you by the Health Insurance Association of America-recently returned to the airwaves to fret about President Clinton's healthcare reform plan.
The first of two ads, both of which are running in about 14 states, shows the couple sitting in their living room discussing Mr. Clinton's proposal to form purchasing alliances.
Louise: "This plan forces us to buy our insurance through these new, mandatory government health alliances."
Harry: "Run by tens of thousands of new bureaucrats."
Louise: "Another billion-dollar bureaucracy."
The second ad is set at Louise's office, where she and co-worker Libby criticize the Clinton healthcare proposal.
Both ads question the need for mandatory health alliances, said HIAA spokesman Richard Coorsh. The ads are part of $1.3 million TV campaign expected to run through Feb. 20. When the association initially debuted "Harry and Louise" back in September, both the White House and several consumer advocacy groups blasted HIAA, accusing it of using the ads to distort and confuse consumers (Oct. 4, 1993, p. 60).
HIAA isn't the only healthcare special-interest group launching a second media campaign against the administration. The American Medical Association also unveiled a second print campaign in national newspapers last week, questioning various elements of the Clinton plan.
Goal tending.Hockey is a tough sport. Just ask Gary Reilly, assistant administrator at HCA North Florida Regional Medical Center in Gainesville.
When he isn't working with physicians or employees at the 266-bed hospital, Mr. Reilly, with his New York accent and slight 5-foot-6-inch frame, moonlights as a minor league hockey referee.
Mr. Reilly, 36, who's been officiating since college, has suffered several black eyes breaking up fights. "Sometimes I have some explaining to do when I come to work," joked the former goaltender for St. Lawrence University in Canton, N.Y.
"I love it as a hobby and as a way of keeping in shape," he said. "With all the stresses at the hospital, it's a good physical release." He then paused and added, "After working with a medical staff all day, it's nothing to go up and down the ice with 22-year-olds."
Mr. Reilly's hobby also keeps him quite busy. He refs once or twice a week in three minor leagues in Florida and the Southeast. On top of that he's an official scorekeeper for the Tampa Bay Lightning hockey club and volunteers for area youth hockey.
But his 60-minute highlight film was made last Nov. 27 when Mr. Reilly refereed a National Hockey League game as a substitute linesman for striking NHL officials.
"It's kind of strange to look up and see 21,000 people," Mr. Reilly said of his appearance in Tampa Bay's Thunderdome. "Besides that, the speed of the pro game amazed me. They have pinpoint passing, and quick action is a real necessity."
The Philadelphia Flyers nipped the Lightning 4-3.
Mr. Reilly had expected to officiate several more games, but the NHL refs ended their strike after two weeks. He was disappointed he didn't get another opportunity but said he doesn't have any desire to turn pro. "When the strike ended I was glad to see both sides get what they wanted. Only after doing the game could I appreciate what a full-time ref goes through. It's chancy out there and very risky."
The art of the deal.Veteran financial wiz Robert Donnelley is retiring as chief of First National Bank of Chicago's healthcare banking team to become director of the Terra Museum of American Art.
Donnelley, 55, spent three decades at First National, including two lengthy stints in healthcare financing. His first deal was in 1963 when he helped arrange financing for what was then Chicago's Presbyterian-St. Luke's Hospital to buy Rush Medical College.
After serving as assistant to First National's president (where he was involved with the corporate art collection) and a few years in Asia, Mr. Donnelley returned to healthcare full throttle in 1978.
Mr. Donnelley is a great-grandson of R.R. Donnelley, founder of the world's largest commercial printing firm.
Enquiring minds. During the many chaotic moments following the Los Angeles-area earthquake, hospitals hardest hit by the devastating shaker also became the busiest as the walking wounded flooded emergency departments with quake-related injuries and hoards of reporters from the popular, tabloid and trade press inundated facilities in search of news.
At St. John's Hospital and Health Center in Santa Monica, the National Enquirer was hot on the trail of its prominent inpatient, Elizabeth Taylor, who'd been admitted several days before for treatment of an orthopedic injury, said hospital spokeswoman Trish Bartel.
Quite noticeably, St. John's officials were a bit on edge when Outliers visited the medical campus to photograph its structural damage. "I may have to take your film," a security guard threatened before requesting media credentials.
Ms. Bartel later apologized for the security guard's rough behavior, explaining, "Earlier in the day we had to throw out the National Enquirer. They were insistent that Elizabeth Taylor was in the hospital."
Ms. Taylor had been in the hospital, Ms. Bartel confirmed, but was discharged the morning of the earthquake "because she thought she'd be safer at home."
St. John's, which remained open for four days after the quake, was closed Jan. 20 after state inspectors determined that its north and south buildings had sustained "significant structural damage to the columns and walls of both structures."
The view from Wall Street. A Salomon Brothers analyst is calling President Clinton's health plan proposal a "wolf in sheep's clothing."
This month Margo Vignola, healthcare analyst for the New York-based investment banking firm, said the president's "Health Security Act" appears to endorse managed competition but contains more "liberal options pursued in the 1970s."
She highlights the "hefty price tag of $40 billion to $60 billion, a raft of regulations and omnipresent federal controls."