August 3rd, 2009
04:13 PM ET
13 years ago

Bill Clinton: GOP 'at it again' in health care debate

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="Former President Bill Clinton blasted Republicans Monday in a fundraising e-mail."]WASHINGTON (CNN) - It's apparently deja vu all over again for former President Bill Clinton.

In a fundraising e-mail on behalf of congressional Democrats, Clinton is blasting Republicans for opposing President Obama's health care push, and reminding people of his administration's ultimately unsuccessful efforts to reform the industry 16 years ago.

"It seems like the 1993 health care debate all over again," Clinton writes in the e-mail, noting that Americans "urgently" needed health care reform as much then as they do now.

"But, just as I did in 1993, President Obama has run into a buzz saw of special interest opposition to his top domestic policy priority - health care reform," he says in the message. "He is facing off against some of the most powerful special interests in Washington who've launched a furious campaign to preserve the status quo."

"...Simply put, they're at it again."

Clinton accuses GOP congressmen of making a "political calculation" to misrepresent Obama's health care plan and to "attack Congressional Democrats with sound bites" instead of making quality health care affordable and accessible."

The former President makes no mention in the e-mail of his wife Hillary, who took charge of his administration's ultimately doomed health care effort in 1993. During her bid for the Democratic presidential nomination last year, both she and John Edwards criticized Obama's health care plan for not mandating that individuals purchase insurance.

Asked for a response to the e-mail, a spokesman for congressional Republicans said Clinton is acknowleding that Democrats haven't made much progress since the last time they tried to shake up the health care system.

"It's nice to finally hear Democrats admitting that they are re-running the failed Hillary-Care playbook from 1993," said Ken Spain, spokesman for the National Republican Congressional Committee. "Before Democrats start casting blame for their inability to govern, they might want to begin by having a conversation with the dozens of members in their own caucus who refuse to get on board with Nancy Pelosi's government takeover because it increases costs, runs up the deficit, and is paid for with a small business tax."

Filed under: Bill Clinton • Extra • Health care
soundoff (305 Responses)
  1. Active Duty Democrat

    A shame men like men are saving so these clowns can get richer and richer at the expense of the American people...shame really. Hopefully the bill gets through this time...I dont see the Repubs winning in 2012 either so thats probably why they are doing this...

    August 3, 2009 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  2. Brooklyn Democrat

    We have the highest costs and some of the lowest quality health care in the world. If we don't do something about it, health care costs will be over 20% of the GDP in the near future. The interests of the insurance, drug and hospital industries seem to be what's controlling here. The Republicans and Blue Dogs are doing their best to help by distorting facts (e.g., using a UHC susidiary as an "objective source" on costs) and playing the scare card (i.e., "kill granny!")

    It's interesting that the Blue Dogs group received over a million dollars in contributions last months from the industries. Depressing that they can be bought so cheap.

    August 3, 2009 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  3. dan

    Everyone says its the GOP that is putting the brakes on the health care reform and they are ignoring the fact that there are significant numbers of democrats that are not supporting the bill as it is formulated right now. If you are going to be honest in your assessment of whats going on in Washington you need to acknowledge it isnt just the republicans that are having issues with the bill in its current format. Its easy to blame the republicans but Obama doesnt even have his own party sold on the bill.

    August 3, 2009 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  4. Ken in Pisgah Forest

    How would you rate the U.S. healthcare system on a scale of 1 to 10, with one being poor and 10 being horrendous?

    Thanks, Bill, for thinking of us. If something isn't done, and the cost of healthcare continues to increase as it has in the past, I predict most companies will no longer provide insurance for their employees simply because they can't afford it. Americans take their health insurance for granted, but no employer in this country is required to insure employees. They could drop it at any time, and I think they will if a bill does not pass this year.

    If you have employer provided health insurance, you need to have a backup plan. You won't have it for long.

    August 3, 2009 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  5. Anonymous

    Unless it involves war or illegally invading a country, the GOP wants nothing to do wth it.

    The party of tax cuts for the wealthly refuses to put country first.

    August 3, 2009 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  6. Democrat in MD (CNN please post. Thank you!)

    Americans WOULD want this plan if they stopped listening to the LIES that the GOP (Great Obstructionest Party) keep sending out!
    C'mon folks! Look at the President's plan & make up your own mind!
    He wants:
    1. To LOWER health costs that are going thru the roof.
    2.To give every American a CHOICE of health plans, including a public option, if that is the CHOICE.
    3. To make sure that EVERY American has quality, affordable health care!

    August 3, 2009 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  7. Sabby

    Obama will have to raise my taxes but he said he wouldn't do that?? Americans don't want this health care reform. Disaster!!!!!!!

    August 3, 2009 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  8. Tom Bachman

    Love all the libs here looking for handouts. The public doesn't want THIS plan, simple. Is reform needed?? Yes, but turning over decisions on treatment to a COMMITTEE...pulled into White House control from Pelosi's Band of Cowards is sheer madness.Obama's all about keeping his rep intact. Tough...he loses on this, either by Congress shelving this monstrosity....or in the backlash at the polls.

    August 3, 2009 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  9. JoeC

    The government is on the verge of breaking Medicare and Social Security and they want to try and tackle Healthcare Reform? The director of the Treasury cant even keep track of his own taxes let alone Cash for Clunkers. I wouldnt let half of these pea brains watch my dog let alone my Healthcare.

    August 3, 2009 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  10. HP

    those of you who don't want "socialized health care" are brainwashed by the money grabbing people in power who also caused our recesion and continue to rip money out of our wallets. Do you honestly think the BS plans that republicans propose, such as buying health insurance across state lines, will help you at all? They will just allow more freedom to greedy companies who drive up health care costs so they can take our money, and then refuse to provide adequate preventative care to actually keep people healthy. They hope everyone gets sick enough to need many appointments, lots of drugs, and a lot of surgery and physical therapy so they can all fill their pockets and be happy. Why do you think that doctors are against health care reform? Because they are more interested in their wallets than in helping people. Wake up!!!

    August 3, 2009 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  11. greg

    I am one of those consertive that do not mind at all in helping pepole when they need it not for life like a liberal. one thing that would help is tort reform, when we have a system were as someone can win a million dollar because they are stupid you tell me why things are expensive. Does their need to be reform oh hell yes but untill their is an honset discussion we will al ways have its my way or the highway way of thinking from both side of the chamber.

    August 3, 2009 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  12. JS007

    I think Obama's mistake was to not trust that the American people are smart enough (with good reason?) to understand that the only way to save money on health care is a single-payer system. The cost for GOVERNMENT would go up (since they'd be paying for everyone's care) but the cost for SOCIETY as a whole (business, individuals) would go DOWN. France spends $3000/person/year and has the BEST system in the world (as rated by the World Health Organization) while the US pays $7000/person/year and has the worst system of any industrialized country.

    August 3, 2009 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  13. Eric

    I don't understand why Republicans are so scared of socialized health care. Is it the fact that they will now be treated as equals with people of lesser money and perhaps have to wait behind me in line to be treated. I've been living like this for 15 years and think it's about time for equality. Besides.... it's probably a good idea if Bi-Polar disorder 2 gets treated huh?

    August 3, 2009 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  14. ApacheLXX

    Bubba Billy, wake up and smell the smoke comming not from special intrest groups but from the Citizens Obama is trying mess over. If he and the congress won't sign up to it because it is a bad deal for them then it is a bad deal for all of us.

    August 3, 2009 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  15. alvino

    Unless it involves war or invading a country, the party of tax cuts for the wealthy wants nothing to do with it.

    The GOP refuses to put country first.

    August 3, 2009 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  16. Mark H.

    Clinton`s Health Care got stabbed in the back by the GOP in large part because our media do such a lousy job of speaking truth to stupid. The GOP is being run by a bunch of no so "Good ole Boys" who are only looking out for themselves. If they had to get health care like we do they would vote this in in a heartbeat. Get the mouth from the south "Rush" to pay for his own pills and he will demand we get this bill through!

    August 3, 2009 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  17. Jewels

    I'm all for the government option and YES it will provide competition for the insurance companies. I worked in the healthcare insurance business for a while and got really fed up with the "training" they provided us, as in, this is how we interpret the policy - DON'T PAY!!! After all, what is wrong with (1) competiton; (2) bringing costs under control for EVERYONE; (3) paying for quality health care, not quantity healthcare.

    August 3, 2009 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  18. KK

    Just think how much better off we would be if health care reform had passed in the '90s. It the was the party of NO then and now. Wake up Americans, time is running out for us, our children and grandchildren.

    August 3, 2009 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  19. Greg

    Actually,Obama is looking to preserve the status quo by allowing the "blue dogs",so called moderate republicans like Collins and Snowe and of course the health care companies.
    So Obama's plan will still leave at least 17 million Americans uninsured,the rest underinsured and the new plan will cost more.
    Yeah,thats the change people were looking for last November.

    August 3, 2009 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  20. steve

    Greed is destroying this country. I hope the Democrats step up to the plate on this. If they cave in to pressure from the GOP and special interests, the Democratic base will turn their backs on the Democrats next election day. We need health care reform now.

    August 3, 2009 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  21. Rose

    The easiest way to get the Republicans to sign a health care bill would be to take away their health care benefits for six months. See how fast they change their minds.

    August 3, 2009 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  22. lostinny

    Let's remove any incentive to become a health care provider. And lets dump something that works for 250 million people for the so called 47 million who dont have it. That figure, by the way is more like 14 million. Let's take everything down to the lowest common denominator. That way NO ONE will be happy.

    August 3, 2009 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  23. C White

    I want the same insurance the congress and senate have. I think it's called socialized medicine.

    August 3, 2009 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  24. Vern Turnbull

    Senator Conrad is a paid employee of the health care industry.

    August 3, 2009 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  25. Henry Miller

    Oh, can it, Clinton!

    The only thing "urgent" about health care "reform" in 1993, and the only thing "urgent" about it now, is the urgent need of you Democrats to buy the welfare vote with other people's money!

    If you want to "reform" health care, then reform tort law to eliminate insane malpractice judgements, which will simultaneously end the incentive of physicians to order every diagnostic test known to man just to cover themselves against malpractice suits. But I guess that looks too much like pandering to all those evil, rich, doctors who, unfortunately, don't make up enough of a demographic to be worth pandering to.

    August 3, 2009 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
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