Last night’s Democratic presidential debate didn’t create much excitement. But one exchange did bring The Hangover’s seatback to a full upright position. It is excerpted below. (The full transcript is available at CNN.com. ) I have whittled down some of the exposition, but the lines remaining are unaffected and not taken out of context in any way:
CLINTON: But then we’ve got to do the hard work of not just bringing the country together, but overcoming a lot of the entrenched opposition to the very ideas that both of us believe in, and for some of us have been fighting for, for a very long time. You know, when I took on…
When I took on universal health care back in ’93 and ’94, it was against a firestorm of special interest opposition. I was more than happy to do that, because I believe passionately in getting quality affordable health care to every American.
I don’t want to leave anybody out. I see the results of leaving people out. I am tired of health insurance companies deciding who will live or die in America.
(These are noble sentiments and the fact is true: President and First Lady Clinton did try to reform health care in ’93 and ’94. TH)
OBAMA then discusses aspects of his plan and then gets to this:
OBAMA: One last point I want to make on the health care front. I admire the fact that Senator Clinton tried to bring about health care reform back in 1993. She deserves credit for that.
But I said before…
(Here is where The Hangover sat up straight, waiting for: “when she took on health care fifteen years ago, she got her ass kicked and nothing got done, which is why we are still debating it today.” TH)
….I think she did it in the wrong way, because it wasn’t just the fact that the insurance companies, the drug companies were battling here, and no doubt they were. It was also that Senator Clinton and the administration went behind closed doors, excluded the participation even of Democratic members of Congress who had slightly different ideas than the ones that Senator Clinton had put forward.
Hillary’s positing of herself as a champion health care refromer has been has been driving The Hangover to the Glenlivet. She fell short. Hillarycare did not even make it to the Senate floor for a vote. (There are a variety of reasons for this, which are discussed substanatively and factually in this post at The Health Care Blog.) While Hillary does deserve credit for the attempt, credit doesn’t provide coverage to those who need it.
One can only hope that Hillary learned from her first go-round. In her husband’s second term she assisted Senators’ Kennedy and Hatch with the enacting of SCHIP, a program which provided health insurance to qualifying families through Medicaid. Clinton’s current plan is also significantly different than her ’93 version and theoretically (hopefully, at least), her political approach would be modified when bringing it before Congress. However, being an experienced health care reformer does not make Hillary a successful health care reformer. The Hangover wishes she would note the difference.