WASHINGTON -- The tax-exempt borrowing provisions in President Bill Clinton's proposed health-care reform package are ticking time bombs could blow up in the faces of 50 states and the U.S. Treasury.

The provisions -- unknown to the Treasury's bond experts until they were revealed last week in two stories by staff reporter Patrice Hill -- include a measure that ultimately could force states to use billions of dollars of tax-exempt bonds to bail out insolvent healthcare providers in a rescue effort that could rival the magnitude of the savings and loan bailout of the 1980s.

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