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. Shawn

    I wonder if there will ever be grass-roots opposition to a bill this president supports without it sounding like Soviet propaganda.

    August 3, 2009 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  2. Mitch

    Seems to me that the only folks adamantly opposing health care reform are those that want the "taxpayer," John Q Public to pay for their health care. Govt representatives get taxpayer paid for health care. Folks that can't afford health insurance get the taxpayer to pay for their ER visits (because an office visit would cost THEM money). All comes down to those that already have public subsidized health care are the only ones truly opposing President Obama's plan for reform.

    Oh, and I'd like to thank those Dems and GOP members of Congress that like the "Just say NO" stance for NOT coming up with a better option. That's a great example of constructive governing and leadership.

    Mitch, Hilliard, OH

    August 3, 2009 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  3. Steve

    The endless delay on health care reform, if left as is, will eventually force the majority of Americans into untenable financial situations where coverage is nearly impossible, and then I'm wondering where the health care industry will be. If they are only covering 1/4 or less of the population, perhaps their profit margin might dip.
    I have yet to see anything but a sad repeat of negative politics from the GOP so far this year. Not only do they have essentially nothing new or constructive to offer on the economy or health, they seem far more interested in simply deep-sixing Obama (with the resultant harm to the nation in delayed projects) than anything else. Sad. Worse than sad.

    August 3, 2009 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  4. Ken in Pisgah Forest

    I don't understand the comments about trickle down prosperity. It didn't work for the U.S. in the eighty's and it won't ever work. Everyone knows trickle down didn't work. Nothing good ever trickles down. It gets lapped up at the top. Just ask the Mexicans how much of the Colorado River makes it into Mexico.

    August 3, 2009 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  5. Jon from Indiana

    It's worth pointing out that Obama and Hillary both received the most and the second most contributions from HMO's in 2008. If they really wanted their awful, short-sighted bill passed, the Democrats would just ignore the Republicans and do it. It's the Democratic party that is holding up 'change,' not the powerless Republicans.

    August 3, 2009 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  6. B

    the GOP needs to give it a rest. All they want to do is sit back and let America sink into irrelevancy..seriously. Democrats are out here hustling trying to make a better situation for ALL Americans..and all the GOP can do is hiss and whine and blindly oppose. You all don't like the healthcare proposal? Fine. Propose one of your own. Oh, you don't have one? Then be quiet. The GOP was offere many an olive branch to be an active participant in the Obama admin. Steel and the other clowns at the RNC chose just to say no. Opposition opposition opposition....for months, such a waste of productive time. The GOP is doing themselves a great disservice. Say for instance Obama's plans work. In the end they're going to look very much like the party of NO PROGRESS – and it will be very hard to spin out of that one.

    August 3, 2009 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  7. Laverne

    Well I am glad to hear another top Dem come out and speak up regarding the republicans games and tricks! More dems better come and stick together on this or it will be another failed attempt and the American people will lose again. Get it together Dems and stop being hoodwinked by the status quo!

    August 3, 2009 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  8. Outer Banks, NC

    It seems to me that the people who have the biggest problem with the health care reform are those individuals who have health insurance. Those of us who work our butts off at two jobs just trying to make a living to support our children and can't afford the cost of health insurance or the cost of getting sick are the ones who have to pay the price because of those who are fortunate enough in this world to be able to afford it. Why is it that people who have more money or work for a company that provides good health coverage should have more benefits in life than those who work extremely hard but still can't afford it? I bet if the shoe was on the other foot people would start looking at things differently. That is a huge problem with our country, if it doesn't effect someone personally, they just don't care. That is not what this country or world is suppose to be about.

    August 3, 2009 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  9. Billy J in Texas

    This is not JUST the Republicans fault. We have been let down by both sides. Although at least the Republicans are almost honest enough to come right out and say "We have sold your interests to the insurance lobbies" The Democrats do a little better job of ACTING like they are working for us. But the truth is, greed has truly destroyed our country, and it seems that the bankers and insurance carpet baggers have won another round, for the umpteenth time. Our country has had so much success, and has so much potential, it is sad to see it falling apart while we just watch the propaganda from the left and right or ignore it completely.

    August 3, 2009 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  10. MJ

    You really think this Government Health Care Plan will be the same as our Representatives?! Think Again ... They are excluded. Why? They have great health plans – no waiting – no exclusions – guaranteed coverage. If you believe this will be the same for all America than have I got a Clunker for you. Hard to understand why so many are acting so "stupidly".

    August 3, 2009 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  11. Jeff

    Tort reform? Clearly you have no idea what you are talking about. The cost of litigation of health care issues has not increased over the last thirty years as a percentage of the total cost of care. Classic conservative nonsense – pulling out a bogey-man. Now its lawyers. Yesterday it was government beaurocrats. Never a mention of the health care insurers who make money by denying you care. What a joke. So you really think the goverment is worse than private insurers? Then why was Obama blasted by republicans for even suggesting that Vets get private plans? The Veterans administration is the most effective at delivering cost-effective top-of-the-line treatment – lowest costs and highest patient satisfaction rate of any plan out there. But goverment is bad. bad bad goverment take my taxes away. Grow up.

    August 3, 2009 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  12. Proud Vet

    All I ever hear from the GOP is a lot of noise. Where are the ideas? From them, it always seems to be a complaint about why Obama's plans won't work. What plans do they have? How are they going to get us healthcare? If they spent half as much time finding solutions to problems as they did criticizing Obama's plans, we would have had healthcare eight years ago!!!

    August 3, 2009 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  13. Steve

    Dear grand parents, mom and dad,,,sorry you had to work so hard to raise me...but you just have to understand...I need this free healthcare more than you do. I see by this bill that, as you enter retirement, you will have to pay more taxes for my "free" care but after all you are at the end of your life cycle. I hope the doctors make you see the light every five years as they brief you on what your choices should be. Sorry mom can't get her hip replacement and dad can't get the stint for his heart, but don't worry I'll be just fine. Oh well good bye. Your loving Son and Grandson

    August 3, 2009 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  14. Mary

    Maybe Republicans would not be so put off if this particular health care reform didn't look and smell like genocide. Genocide? Yes, any time you target the unborn and the elderly for elimination, you are talking genocide. Can't call it anything else when those on Social Security and SSI will be mandated to have 'health' check-ups every five years, at which time they will be counseled on which way to end their life to put themselves out of their misery - that my friends is genocide.

    August 3, 2009 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  15. Military man

    ask yourself why we are the only industrialized democracy nation in the world that does don't have universal healthcare for its people? Marraco even a 3rd world country as Cuba has better health care than us we are ranked 37th in the world for health and 50th for life expectancy. The military has gov ran healthcare and it works fine. If we're so great y can't we take care of every1. I guess England, France etc. are all SOCIALIST.

    August 3, 2009 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  16. Mike Silverstein

    Since the Clinton Administration started this Universal Healthcare, it is apparent that both houses and the current administration had not understood the ramification of such an idea. Apparently, they want everyone to have health insurance, not a bad idea. But, who is going to pay for such a grand scheme of things. Where are the Dr.'s and nurses going to come from to administer the quality of health care necessary to make this work? If this is such a good thing, then I recommend that all the politicians both Federal and State be also on the Universal Health care as well. No one should have private health care – all should be on Universal Health care – period.
    I really don't think, that the politicians will accept this type of health care for themselves. Again, its the : Those that have will not give up
    what they already have.

    August 3, 2009 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  17. jj12345

    The dems have the majority, they dont need the GOP. If this bill is so great it should have no problem passing, other than that I bet no one has read it.

    August 3, 2009 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  18. lynn in NM

    Do it like the governor of Utah has done it and we won't yell. Set up an insurance co-op without government money. Oh, can't do that. That wouldn't put the government's nose into our business.

    August 3, 2009 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  19. jumpugly

    I broker the health insurance for the company I work for. It's a joke dealing with the largest firms. The prices are through the roof and the rates go up every month. Just wait until 2010. It'll be worse if we don't fight back. Even the most basic plans cost about $1400 a month with monsterous deductibles up to $6000 and then they cap how much they'll give you in aid per year. God forbid anyone gets really sick in a family these days.
    We've got to fight this fight ladies and gents!!!!

    August 3, 2009 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  20. Monte

    At the very least, we need the laws changed to protect the citizens. Right now the insurance laws are in the favor of the corporations. It's the law that group insurance has to cover every employee. It's against the law for self employed people to form groups to purchase insurance. There should be a Nationwide Health Insurance plan with mandated minimum coverages that any Insurance company can sell anybody can buy into with being scrutinized for preexisting conditions. Today, I am uninsurable on the individual market. If I get a job with a big company tomorrow, by law their group policy has to accept me. So why can't anybody who wants to be a group form a group? Answer: It's against the law. Solution: Change the law.

    August 3, 2009 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  21. Chris S

    Seems to me that the health care industry is nervous about some good old fashioned competition. Ironic, eh?

    August 3, 2009 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  22. Polar Bears Against Palin

    The Iraq war cost twice as much as this health care bill will. Why aren't the naysayers griping about the waste of money on a lie of a war?

    August 3, 2009 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  23. xavier

    Obama = Trickle Up Poverty,
    When you say Americans do NOT want healthcare reform speak for yourself. Dont lump those of us who do want it with idiots like you. We are just as much an American as you, except that we actually care about not just our selves.

    August 3, 2009 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  24. Rick

    Nice try Bill, but the Dems have the super majority and don't need a single Rep vote to pass this thing.
    Even your own party has it's doubts.
    Look in the mirror before you start trying to lay blame on others.

    August 3, 2009 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  25. Proud to be a FORMER Democrat

    This monstrosity would have passed easily were it not for blue dog dems. Stop blaming the GOP for EVERYTHING. If the Dems think this is all the fault of the GOP, they are not listening to us. Big surprise!

    August 3, 2009 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
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