December 17th, 2009
04:48 PM ET
8 years ago

Former president's plea for health care reform

(CNN) - Former President Bill Clinton released a statement Thursday that calls for the passage of health care reform. Last month the former president met behind closed doors with Senate Democrats, to urge them to come to agreement on a health care bill. Clinton pushed for, but failed to win, major health care reform during his first term in the White House.

Statement from President Bill Clinton on Health Care Reform
December 17, 2009

New York, NY – "America stands at a historic crossroads. At last, we are close to making real health insurance reform a reality. We face one critical, final choice, between action and inaction. We know where the path of inaction leads to: more uninsured Americans, more families struggling to keep up with skyrocketing premiums, higher federal budget deficits, and health costs so much higher than any other country's they will cripple us economically.

Our only responsible choice is the path of action. Does this bill read exactly how I would write it? No. Does it contain everything everyone wants? Of course not. But America can't afford to let the perfect be the enemy of the good.
And this is a good bill: it increases the security of those who already have insurance and gives every American access to affordable coverage; and contains comprehensive efforts to control costs and improve quality, with more information on best practices, and comparative costs and results. The bill will shift the power away from the insurance companies and into the hands of consumers.
Take it from someone who knows: these chances don't come around every day. Allowing this effort to fall short now would be a colossal blunder - both politically for our party and, far more important, for the physical, fiscal, and economic health of our country."

Filed under: Bill Clinton
soundoff (117 Responses)
  1. Concerned Democrat

    I am a fan of President Clinton, but he is wrong on this issue.....this bill isn't worth the paper it's written on.

    All of the items that would have helped Americans have been REMOVED, the only people being helped out now are the Insurance companies.

    December 17, 2009 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  2. Ready for 2012

    Normally I agree with Former President Clinton, but not this time. This so called health care reform bill is a lousy bill and will not bring about the reform needed. Please don't encourage anyone to vote for this garbage just so Obama can claim this as a victory.

    Democrats: you know this bill will not bring about the reform needed. Please vote NO on this bill and start over on a much better bill. Don't rush through the bill just so you can say "hey we passed something".

    December 17, 2009 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  3. Mike in MN

    Voters don't like the versions in the House and Senate anymore than they did Bill's. Voting the present version of health care reform into lay would go against the will of a majority of voters. Obama, Clinton and most of the congressional Democrats are deaf when it comes to the voices of the people. If they were willing to listen they would hear the a majority of voters support health care reform, just not what they are doing. If they were willing to listen to the people they could draft health care reform that a majority of voters would support. But they won't because liberals think they are smarter than those they represent.

    December 17, 2009 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  4. marie antoinette

    Yes I agree with Former President Bill Clinton with one Caveat...everyone is lookng for a Win on each side of the table instead of a Collaboration Effort...the Days of this side or that side Won are over...a task force for each Critical element for review would Xpediate the Issue between the House + Senate – Gosh! The People are Watching Time Resources + Cost wither away with a one size fits all win mentality – tell them to Wake UP + smell the Mocha Java Bill – Ciao-marie antoinette

    December 17, 2009 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  5. Dennis in AZ

    I'm not a fan of any Clinton–they've given me second thoughts on whether Arkansas and New York should even be states. It seems clear that former Pres. Clinton is sitting on the bleachers like a High School-has-been rooting for the team he couldn't take to the championship. I get that Pres. Clinton is for Healthcare reform. What I don't get is why he would support this particular Bill. Someone should follow the money and find out.

    December 17, 2009 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  6. Republicans are the American Taliban

    This whole health care experience has shown everyone that the American people are no longer in charge of their country. The Congressmen and Senators no longer work for the American people but rather for big business.

    December 17, 2009 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  7. ClintonFan

    Well said Mr. President. If the democrats don't get this through as it is, they may very well never get another opportunity.

    December 17, 2009 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  8. Christian Values

    Vote it through via the Reconciliation process. Include the Public Option as well as the enrollment to medicare at age 55, in fact, make it 40 just to piss them off even more. They don't like anything, who cares if we give them MORE to dislike.

    Let the "do nothing but oppose saving lives" rejects of the republican party rot in the hell they deserve to be in. They don't deserve to be americans and christ surely wouldn't want them as christians.

    The only reason they ever oppose anything is because of DOLLARS and CENTS rather then MORALS and SENSE. STOP listening to the demonic and genocide seeking republicans. Their policies are grounded in the policy of a slow and certain death of america.

    December 17, 2009 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  9. Ben in Texas

    If the Democrats pass this flawed bill, they will effectively say, "Health care reform is accomplished." That is a lie, and it will lead to apathy and antipathy among the people who voted for them. Voters will understand that the Dems have lost the battle and the war. The Democratic Party will suffer at the polls.

    The best course now is for Democrats to vote against any bill not containing a public option or single payer insurance reform. That way, the country is put on notice that the war is not over with the Repugnants and their insurance company masters. Doing so could lead to increases in Democratic congressional seats, which could ensure that real health care reform is implemented down the road. At the very least, the idea of health care reform will continue to be on the front burner, and the Repugnants will be seen for the obstructionists they are.

    December 17, 2009 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  10. David

    Pass a bill NOW and fix what doesn't work in the future. It is better than waiting another 15 to 20 years.

    December 17, 2009 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  11. BJ

    Coming from the ex president that already tried the government run healthcare route that cost the Democrats the House and the Senate. What have they learned in the last decade and a half? Nothing?

    December 17, 2009 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  12. annie s

    I am sorely disappointed in this watered down Senate bill – the concessions made to the Republicans and conservative Democrats have turned the hope of real reform into a gift to the for-profit insurers. How sad that Americans – citizens of the so-called greatest country on earth – still will not achieve the same accessible, affordable healthcare that the rest of the industrialized world has.

    December 17, 2009 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  13. Four and The Door

    The Democratic Party might think this is something they need but in reality this is absolutely the last thing America needs right now.

    Get back to the economy and policies that encourage jobs creation. This bill does not create jobs and in fact would help perpetuate the economic problems America is dealing with now.

    If the Stimulus Bill was Obama's best shot at jobs creation, we are all in trouble.

    December 17, 2009 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  14. Robin

    Sorry, Bill. I want it RIGHT, not now.

    December 17, 2009 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  15. Al

    What is the point of passing a health care bill if it doesn't do anything. What not take the time and do the job right. My Dad always said, "it a job is worth doing, it's worth doing right". So what is the big hurry? Could it be the Democrats are trying to hid something? Or are they just too afraid of facing their constitutes over the Christmas break, the same constitutes that overwhelming do not want this health care bill? The American people what waited this long. Lets take a few more months and do the job right.

    December 17, 2009 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  16. Shellie

    Republican Senators have their health insurance....who else matters?????

    December 17, 2009 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  17. Shelly

    Joe Lieberman should be booted out. He is a flip flopper and will be responsible for many deaths due to the failed health reform.
    America needs health reform NOW, to save our children and this country from massive health expense. The fear tactics of those opposed are sickening and unAmerican!

    December 17, 2009 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  18. Nate

    Now Republicans want to have the healthcare bill personnally read to them. What an ego they nit-wits have.

    December 17, 2009 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  19. John E Lexington KY

    The Senators who blocked the real reforms in this bill stand for nothing but their insurance board jobs after their defeat in the next election. Will this country ever have a progressive party? The Republicans are lizards, the Democrats – enough of them to block anything useful – lackeys. Show some guts and you will win a workable election majority for the foreseeable future. As it is, people will lurch in desperation from one party to the other hoping someone some time will actually represent them and vote for the good of the population. This Congress is making that idea seem quaint.

    December 17, 2009 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
  20. Allison

    Republican Senators have their healthcare insurance, so what's the hurry? But, hey, Merry Christmas America.!!

    December 17, 2009 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
  21. Jane/Seattle

    Cooperation trumps competition! Political cooperation would offer everyone the same benefits! Competition is a false GOD – the one you all worship! Bill Clinton betrayed us many times – chiefly with GHWB and NAFTA AND Welfare to Working Poverty! Also, anyone remember the Contract ON (for) America of Gingrich's crew? Different Faces of the Same Coin! Yes, you are. Screw American TAXPAYERS AS LONG AS YOU GET YOURS now! I trust only a few who SHOW US WHAT they Are truly About! Bernie Sanders-Yes, Dennis Kucinich-Yes, Alan Grayson-Yes and some few others! The Rest: Might as well just Go Work For your Masters Outright!

    December 17, 2009 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
  22. bobbymcgee

    "collosall blunder???"""" More approriate words should be:
    A TOTAL DISASTER!!!! It sems the people who we send to Congress, and the House of Representatives, in the end, are only worried about their very own interests - THEIR OWN JOB!!! This has been and continues to be the whole problem with this Healthcare Bill. The Motto on Capital Hill seems to be: TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF FIRST, THEN TAKE CARE OF EVERYONEELSE!! So, therefore, here we are, with such an "ugly" mess, who knows how this will be resolved, if at all! And we have waited almost 100 years - (7) Presidents to pass healthcare. In the meantime, today, many people died because they either didn't have healthcare insurance, were turned down from treatment because they had pre-existing conditions and could not afford insurance, AND/OR were minimally treated, IF at all, because they didn't have any money and were lower income/poor people!! AND THIS IS AMERICA???????? I think that there are some on Capital Hill that NEED TO GET WITH THE PROGRAM!! EITHER REPRESENT YOUR AMERICAN CITIZENS, OR GET OUT!!!!!

    December 17, 2009 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
  23. billy123

    I like the House bill but the Senate bill currently is a joke. Good for Senator Franklyn for informing Senator Liberman to stop talking and sit down.

    Senator Franklyn I hope you are not the only Dem Senator with the guts to tell Senator Liberman to sit down and shut up.

    December 17, 2009 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
  24. Jill

    If we don't pass healthcare reform now it will NEVER get done. Do you really think Republicnas give a crap about healthcare??? It's amazing how easily the American people are fooled.

    December 17, 2009 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  25. S M R

    Stop the Lobbiests from their influence on continuing Corporate GREED and even the playing field for the American Taxpayer. Capitalism smothers the Middle class, which is the backbone of the American Economy.

    December 17, 2009 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
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