February 7th, 2010
01:50 PM ET
4 years ago

Clinton sounds off on health care reform


Washington (CNN) – The woman who was the face of Democratic efforts to pass a health care reform bill when the last Democratic president was in the White House says she’s happy to share her wisdom on the subject when asked.

In an interview set to air Sunday on CNN’s State of the Union, former first lady and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton weighs in on the continuing battle over health care reform on Capitol Hill.

“Are you getting a little déjà vu watching this?,” CNN Senior Political Correspondent Candy Crowley asked Clinton.

“Well it's really hard,” said Clinton. “It is a complex issue that touches everybody about which both people and interests have really strong feelings. But I haven't given up yet, and I know the White House hasn't given up. And I - I don't think a lot of the members of Congress have given up. So I'm not sure that this last chapter has been written.”

Asked whether she dispenses any wisdom garnered during her failed efforts to push a health care reform bill through Congress during his husband’s administration, Clinton said she is glad to share what she knows.

“Well when I'm asked I am very happy to respond,” Clinton said. “I mean it's not anything I have direct responsibility for, but I've had a number of conversations. And both in the White House, and on the Hill, and with others who are playing a constructive role. And I - I like I think many Americans hope that there can be a positive outcome.”

During her 2008 White House bid, Clinton’s failed push for health care reform while first lady got her commitment, if elected, to push for universal coverage dubbed “Hillarycare” by many of her conservative and Republican critics.

After beating out Clinton for the Democratic nod and then besting Sen. John McCain, R-Arizona, in the general election, President Obama made passing a health care reform one of his top domestic legislative priorities in 2009. National Democrats have thus far been unable to get a bill passed and the party suffered a large blow recently when Republican Scott Brown won a Massachusetts special Senate election last month. Sworn in last week, Brown is now the 41st member of the Senate Republican Caucus and he ran on a pledge to be the 41st vote Senate Republicans need to filibuster a Democrats’ health care reform bill.

soundoff (91 Responses)
  1. Michael from Ventura

    Two classy and very smart women! Hillary, I'm glad you're one of us!

    February 7, 2010 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  2. M. Townsend

    We will go bankrupt if we continue to let Republicans control our minds with their divisive appeals. Surgical reform when we are spending seveen times some advaneced countries? Tort reform which might yield tiny savings and we leave 30-40 million uninsured so tax payers continue to pick up the tab in ERs? Btw Republican prooposals do not dissallow pre-existing conditions. Did we learn nothing the prior 8 years? And the 8 before that when we were in surplus? Republican landslide for a county of fools!

    February 7, 2010 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  3. Steve in North Carolina

    Hey Nancy...Let me get this straight, I'm a racist because I don't want to pay the medical bills for people who don't take care of their bodies and don't have jobs. Give me a break!

    The bottom line is that we cannot afford what has been proposed so far and we need to cut government spending to heal our economy, not increase it. Judging by your spelling and sentence structure, however; I doubt that you can comprehend this concept.

    February 7, 2010 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  4. petena

    Hillary: You are still my role model. I admire you greatly for your knowledge and spirit. Keep up the good work. Hillary 2016!

    February 7, 2010 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  5. NS in HI

    Steve-o in NC,
    We can't afford not to do something.

    February 7, 2010 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  6. Glenn

    Frankly, the less I see or hear about Hillary Clinton the happier I am!

    February 7, 2010 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  7. Lisa

    To Steve in NC, I don't think you are seeing the big picture. It is not just people who don't take care of their bodies and are unemployed that don't have insurance coverage – especially in the economic climate we have in this country today. A very large percentage of the folks have just recently lost their jobs, needed to take part-time jobs which do not provide coverage for their employees, are self employed, and have families. How would you feel if your married child worked three part-time jobs to keep a roof above the heads of their family and put food on the table but couldn't afford to take your grandchild to the doctor to cure swine flu? You might be singing a different tune then. While it may be true that it is exensive to fund a healthcare bill, how expensive is it as a country to stand idly by and watch family members dies for lack of insurance? Oh, and by the way, many hospitals legally can't turn patients away so your current insurance premiums pay hospital bills that need to recoup the unpaid bills of the uninsured anyway. So, in the long run, we will all pay for the uninsured one way or the other.

    February 7, 2010 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  8. Linell Winter Park, FL

    Who do you think picks up the health care tab now for those who don't have coverage and end up using the ER for their health care?
    Those of us who do work and have coverage!!! It is costing us a lot more to pick up that tab now than if we have comprehensive health care reform that would cover everyone.

    February 7, 2010 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  9. Fitz in Texas

    "A government big enough to give you everything you want, is strong enough to take everything you have."
    --Thomas Jefferson--

    February 7, 2010 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  10. old timer

    There is nothing wrong with the present health care in the USA.
    Leave out abortions and fine tune the present system. When a person takes paperwork into his/her doctor to be filled out for what ever reason by the doctor it goes to someone else and the doctor dosen,t even see the papers to be filled out. Some specialist fills out the paper work.

    This process must be stopped and the nurses can fill out the paper work who are more qualified that the specialist who never sees you.

    Blood is drawen for testing by the doctors orders then it is analyzed
    at the local clinc then mailed to another specialized clinic to futher testing of the blood work. WHY

    These are some of the reasons why health care costs so much.
    SO LETS FINE TUNE THE EXISTING HEALTH CARE PROGRAM

    No one has questioned any of the procedures that are now being done.

    A lot of job security has taken place in the medical world and all it is doing is driving up the cost of health carer

    February 7, 2010 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  11. Seattle Fan

    She's an amazing, amazing woman.
    Strong, wise.
    Chelsea is so fortunate.

    February 7, 2010 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  12. usualone

    Selfishness of Americans is loud and clear. I wonder how these bad mouthed individuals would feel if they were in the circumstances of those who don't have health coverage? It is easy to call names and offer other insults of people who have proposals one doesn't like. It is embarrassing to see that there are so many Americans out there who only think with their bad tempered, foul mouthed arguments. Me, me, me is all they think of.

    February 7, 2010 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  13. Tom

    More like VuJaDe. Hillary's plan back in the 90's wasn't great, but was better than what we have in que now.

    Re: the "public option", the government is the last entity we want to handle health care. The big problem for many is "pre exsiting conditions" that insurance companies won't touch. Perhaps some kind of "assigned risk pool" could be implemented similar to what many states use in auto insurance. If properly done this would be better than the public option.

    If we go with the public option, virtually everyone with a preexsisting condition will be forced into public insurance leaving the insurance companies free to insure only the healthiest and make even more obscene profits than they are making now, with the taxpayers picking up the tab for covering those whose costs are the highest. Corporate welfare is what I would call that. We have had way too much of that over the last year and a half.

    There is no question health care reform is needed. What is being proposed at this time is not what we need.

    February 7, 2010 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  14. ILoveCNN

    Every now and then Mrs. Clinton would do something or say something that reminds me she still works for the Obama Admin.

    February 7, 2010 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  15. Robe

    Steve in North Carolina,

    You are now paying for people who do not have a job and those who do have a job, but no health insurance. The Congressional Budget Office which is the official Budget Office for Congree, both Republican and Democrat has said time and again that the Health Care Reform Bill will not increase the deficit, but decrease it by a $1 trillion dollars in 10 years.

    I hope that you was not one of the ones who supported the Medicare Part B drug plan which is expensive for the Federal Government and had no mechanism in place to pay for the plan. Do you know that the because of that drug plan many insurance companies increased their premiums, because the seniors dropped their drug plan option from their insurance?

    My retired mother-in-law worked at an industry for 38 years. She continued to have their company insurance once she retired. In 2009 she paid $84 a month for her premium, with no drug plan. The company changed insurance carrier for 2010 and now her premium is $320 a month, with no drug plan. Why the change and why the increase in premium with no increase in coverage? The reason is because they can.

    The federal deficit increased because of the Medicare Part B Drug Plan, 2 wars, and the non-regulations imposed on the banking industry.

    This country will continue to suffer as long as the Republicans feel that doing nothing will keep them in office, no matter what the cost to the people of this country. Many of their constiuents work part time jobs are jobs with no company health care. The health care offered now is on average $250 – $300 a month for individuals. Many can not afford the cost. So please stop saying that you do not want to pay for others who do not have health care, because when those people go to the hospital emergency rooms for anything, you are paying for their care.

    February 7, 2010 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  16. America Shrugged

    So many negative comments rather than rational discussion. It's a wonder that the Tea party movement is being rejected by intelligent Americans. Healthcare is a very complex issue and there isn't a one size fits all solution. To bash what has been done so far this past year is disgraceful when probably most of you haven't read any part of it. I applaud the congress for putting this much effort into a complex issue. Too bad it wasn't done when we started two wars, 2 tax cuts for the wealthiest and medicare part D, all unpaid for.

    February 7, 2010 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  17. djean

    Social Security would not be bankrupt if our government didn't keep borrowing from it and never paying back the funds. Please stop swallowing that ridiculous "bankrupt" lie.
    Of course, if Wall Street succeeds in getting social security privatized into their greedy little fee-charging hands – it will disappear anyway.

    February 7, 2010 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  18. Texas Jack

    Forget it Hillary this man's program was not as good as yours. Go back to the drawing board with a equal bi-partisium panel to set up a just health program. If the government representatives can set up there drawing our tax dollars for salary then they can represent the people. The health program must include you people. You are not better than us. Remember we hired you and we can dang well fire you.

    February 7, 2010 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  19. jules sand-perkins

    @ Steve in NC:
    Bravo!
    You are right on.
    They think that throwing in words like "rational" and "consider" makes them appear capable of mentation.

    February 7, 2010 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  20. Dubya

    In 1993 republicons felt they would beneft frm a strategy of opposing everything the new Dmeocratic charismatic president offered. No matter what the cost in lives and properity for the American people. Their gamble paid off in the 1994 elections when they took control of the House for the first time in 40 years. I should think Democrats have a sense of deja vu, but the quesiton is did they learn anything from last time? Kick the gop in their shriveled little old white impotent johnsons' and get the work done we elected you to do, like reforming health insurance.

    February 7, 2010 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  21. B

    Let us all hope that the Democrats don’t- cave in- again this time !

    This is the most important legislation to get done in this term !
    If they don’t , it will be a one term presidency, that is for sure..

    February 7, 2010 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  22. John in WV

    If Hillary had gotten health care reform passed during the Clinton years, we would not have almost 50 million Americans without health care. We would not have millions of American workers filing bankruptcy because they chose health care costs over basic everyday needs. We would have more Americans off welfare because they could work and still have medical insurance. Elderly working Americans could have retired younger with insurance opening the door for employers to put more young Americans to work. Republicans do not oppose health care reform because it's the wrong thing to do. They oppose it because it can work and it will make it harder for them to push us back into the glorious years of Bush/Cheney.

    February 7, 2010 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  23. jules sand-perkins

    Nobody has a "right" to health care.
    Every person is born with the possibility of survival, if he can make it on his own.
    It is an immoral attempt at a con job for you to assert that I am responsible for your survival.

    February 7, 2010 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  24. Napalm Unbelievable

    fitz in texas:

    Thomas Jefferson never said that. Gerald Ford said it, August 12, 1974, in an address to Congress.

    February 7, 2010 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  25. Four and The Door

    Let's put it all out on the table. The reason Obama's health care efforts went down in flames is his own fault. He did not provide leadership to make sure it got done with broad support. He provided leadership to make it a Democrats only free-for-all locking out Republicans and over half of all Americans. With a Filibuster-proof Senate they thought it was in the bag.

    Now they have to go back again and come up with a reasonable, cost-effective solution if they want anything done at all. No more back room deals and union favors. I don't think they know how to do good legislation so put Obamacare on the same shelf with HillaryCare. In the basement.

    February 7, 2010 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
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