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Dr. William Butler is like many of his colleagues these days -- anxious. The Clinton administration plans to release its remedy for the ailing health care industry later this month, but the president of the Baylor College of Medicine is far from optimistic about the elixir.
Although no one is quite sure what will result from the pending reforms, Butler seems certain the news -- at least as reported thus far -- will not be good for one of Houston's largest moneymaking engines, the Texas Medical Center.
Will government reforms have a negative impact on the medical center's ability to create new jobs? Yes, says Butler. Will it negatively affect research dollars? Affirmative, says the good doctor. Will those problems in turn affect quality health care? No question.
Butler's theories by no means reflect all of the views offered by others at the medical center. Opinions about health care reform vary from doctor to doctor and hospital to hospital. But a common thread running among all of the administrators and physicians surveyed last week was that reform in an industry that generates $900 billion each year is much needed and long overdue. For better or worse, they say, that will have a profound effect on the bottom line at local hospitals and, on a grander scale, Houston's economy.
There can be no doubt about the economic impact the medical center has upon the Bayou City. At the end of 1992, 54,774 workers were employed at the medicine mecca, reputedly a greater number than any …