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. Justin

    Hey genius, how do you know it's good? NOBODY HAS SEEN IT YET!!

    December 17, 2009 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  2. vwrtb

    I would like a public option. but republicans will not allow it... I will take anything we can build on later... Especially when obstructionist are proven wrong again!

    December 17, 2009 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  3. Kaylynn

    It's obvious that Republicans no longer work for the people, they work big insurance companies.

    December 17, 2009 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  4. mjm

    "The best course now is for Democrats to vote against any bill not containing a public option or single payer insurance reform."

    Nothing says competition like "single payer".

    Nobody competes with Medicare and Medicare premiums have almost doubled in the past 5 years. That is truly amazing considering the program is broke.

    And for the record no one is exempt from anti-trust laws. Insurance companies follow State anti-trust laws because every State has a different medical scope of practice.

    And no, I don't work for the insurance companies....but thousands of people do. Libs just want to destroy every industry out there, don't they?

    December 17, 2009 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  5. vwrtb

    Its health insurance we are reforming... Not health care idiots!

    December 17, 2009 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  6. Obama-Mama

    Republicans are just ticked that they never passed anything of value. They are so afraid this president will make presidents before him look like crap. Bill Clinton is an adult with the people of this country's welfare at heart. The republican toilet scums are so hateful that they bite of their nose to spite their faces....Pass the bill and adjust it later. No matter what the polls say this president is making a change...

    December 17, 2009 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  7. The Lonely Libertarian of Liverpool NY

    More lies! This reform is no reform at all, what this does is place the burden of costs on the minority of working Americans ( currently only 47% of Americans pay federal taxes). This bill will raise the costs of health care benefits that Americans worked to earn.( that's right health care benefits are earned by working). This Bill will raise the tax burden on the miniority to pay for this three trillion dollar boondoggle. The reform will cost more working Americans their jobs. This reform will increase the national debt.
    This must NOT pass!

    December 17, 2009 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  8. Jax

    Last month I had a good job and great health insurance. Life was good, or so I thought. I recently got laid-off and therefore, lost my heathcare. Today it is me, tomorrow it WILL be you. Evenually it WILL effect all of us. Don't count on Republicans to help.

    December 17, 2009 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
  9. Maddy

    Don't expect Republicans to give a crap.....Merry Christmas!

    December 17, 2009 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
  10. Jake

    i trust the Democrats on this issue.

    the elected Republicans could care less if there are uninsured people, and the uninsured Republicans support them. WHY!!??

    December 17, 2009 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  11. David-TX

    Until we all loose our heathcare coverages will America wake up.
    George W. almost put us into the second great depression. We finally woke up after eight years. This too, will take eight years.......we have to learn the hard way.

    December 17, 2009 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  12. Annie

    Don't count on a Republican to help, they're already attending the Christmas parties with "holiday cheer". God help us everyone.

    December 17, 2009 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  13. S M R

    This bill as it stands is Corporate America friendly after all benefits have been stripped. I say take a vacation now and come back with a new plan. Gather let's say 55 Democrats that are for the best bill possible for the American Taxpayer. ONLY THESE 55 WILLWORK ON THIS NEW BILL. Go RECONSILIATION and jam it down their Corporate Driven Throats.

    December 17, 2009 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  14. Dominican Papa not for Obama

    Clinton, what a joke! Isn't this the guy who was impeached for sleeping with interns who were younger than his daughter? I don't think we need to listen to any advice from this guy.

    December 17, 2009 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  15. Jeff from Chicago

    I guess even presidents get their facts wrong.

    I agree health care costs are out of control but letting the government take it over, which a public option will do, will lead to higher health care costs through higher taxes, bigger deficits and worse healthcare.

    Fix the problems like malpractice awards, and let people shop across state lines to start.

    And if I hear 1 more person quote inaccurate statistics such as how many people die a year or 45 million without healthcare or whatever other idiotic thing i lose total faith in people's ability to think for themselves.

    A public option that does not have to make a profit is not competition, it's elimination of capitalism. since when is it capitalism or competition to have one company that is supported through taxpayers money, that does not have to be efficient or cost effective, that can operate forever at a loss against someone who needs to make a profit to survive. What idiot thinks that is competition? (besides LaCrosse Mom?)

    December 17, 2009 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |

    FOLKS!!!! lets now forget that is not the finally bill, This is just a vote to get the bill out of the Senate. and then they work and merge the two bills together.. So strongly agree with Pres. Clinton on this issue.

    December 17, 2009 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  17. ICARE

    What a man!! I always love and respect the Clintons for the ability to stand their grounds in the most important issues.

    God bless America!! May Greed DIE! May we stop spending trillions of dollars on painting caves.

    December 17, 2009 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  18. rick cunningham

    Bill Clinton, really? This guy lied under oathe. This the best you got? Shut the hell up.

    December 17, 2009 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  19. ClintonFan

    Well said, Jill. If they don't act, and act now, it is never going to get done. Better is the enemy of good.

    December 17, 2009 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  20. mjm

    "and contains comprehensive efforts to control costs and improve quality, with more information on best practices, and comparative costs and results."

    Everyone who works in health care knows that this means rationing.

    "The bill will shift the power away from the insurance companies and into the hands of consumers."

    The power is already with the consumer. We decide what premiums to buy just like we pick our own auto insurance. If one plan cost too much, you or your employer can pick a new one.

    How does adding 40% surtax to “Cadillac plans” reduce costs again?

    How many choices does a "single payer" give you?

    Write a better bill next time.

    December 17, 2009 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  21. Tom L

    The true irony of this is that people on the left say that all Republicans care about is big healthcare companies. However, this "reform" will mandate that every individual in the is country has to buy insurance from one of those big, bad companies. Pretty hilarious.

    December 17, 2009 05:45 pm at 5:45 pm |
  22. kat

    The only thing the Healthcare debate has done over the past two years has increased the cost of healthcare coverage for those who already had healthcare coverage, (my monthly payments have gone up 40% over the past two years since Obama scared the insurance companies and the healthcare providers.) Now if they pass some ridiculous legislation requiring everyone to pay for healthcare whether they need it or not, everyone will be indebted to insurance companies and hospitals whether they can afford it or not. If the government spent all the money so far wasted on debating healthcare on the struggling economy, we might be on to something.

    December 17, 2009 05:45 pm at 5:45 pm |
  23. ran

    Now is the time for reconciliation and give us single payer non-profit universal health care now. Then every obstructionist would have a reason to cry because they would have lost it all. Which to me would be good. I have had enough of this insanity and can only hope we get some serious 3rd party candidates in 2010 and 2012 and have a real change from the D's and R's.

    December 17, 2009 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm |
  24. Terry from West Texas

    Mike in Minn wrote: "...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."

    I hope they are, Mike. Remember that the average American has an average IQ, does not have a college degree, and got a C in American History, World History, and Government. The average American has never read a history book or an economics book. I certainly hope the people we elect are smarter than the people who elected them.

    After all, Carter, Gore, and Obama have won Nobel Prizes. Most Americans have not. Obama graduated from Harvard, most Americans did not. He edited the Harvard Law Review, most Americans have not. He taught Constitutional Law, and most Americans haven't read the Constitution.

    Most Americans cannot define Liberalism, Conservatism, Communism, or Socialism. They cannot name the last ten presidents.

    December 17, 2009 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm |
  25. Self employed businessman

    The failure of substancial health insurance reform will be blamed squarely on the shoulders of President Obama. he has not provided any leadership on this issue. He has let the House then the Senate write their own bill and has never said what he wants the bill to have. True leaders lead, not follow. If Obama truelly cared about this bill it would pass.
    If substancial health insurance reform does not pass, do not look for a second Obama term. The people that voted for the first time in 2008 will not be back. Dont blame Lieberman or anyone else other than the President who did not lead on the most important issue of our time.

    December 17, 2009 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |
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