WASHINGTON -- Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan caused heads to turn recently when he branded as "fantasy" the $267 billion in savings that President Clinton is projecting from lower health-care costs by the year 2000 under his health reform plan.

Supposedly, the savings would accrue to the federal and state governments, businesses, and individuals as a result of nationwide caps on insurance premiums for basic health benefits, and spending caps on the Medicare and Medicaid programs. And the savings would occur, the White House says, even as coverage is extended, for the first time, to everyone.

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