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HillaryCare: 20 Years Later

- August 26, 2014

Despite HillaryCare’s Failure 20 Years Ago, Hillary Clinton Got What She Wanted In ObamaCare

20 Years Ago Today, The White House Conceded That HillaryCare Was Dead. “Democratic Congressional leaders and White House officials today all but conceded any chance of passing universal health insurance legislation this year.” (Todd S. Purdum, “The Health Care Debate: The Overview; Clinton’s Allies On Health Concede That Broad Plan Is All But Dead This Year,” The New York Times , 8/27/94)

As The Point Person On Health Care For The Clinton White House, Hillary’s Leadership Doomed HillaryCare

Hillary Clinton Was The “Architect And Chief Saleswoman” Of HillaryCare. “Mrs. Clinton was an architect and chief saleswoman for her husband’s plan to overhaul the country’s health system.” (Christopher Connell, “Mrs. Clinton To Keep Fighting For Health Reform,” The Associated Press, 9/29/94)

The New York Times : “White House Insistence On Secret Deliberations” And Hillary Clinton’s Alienation Of Health Care Stakeholders Led To The Failure Of HillaryCare.“The defeat ought to trigger an orgy of blame, and there is no shortage of deserving recipients. White House insistence on secret deliberations produced a bill that no one on Capitol Hill was committed to support. A politically inept health adviser, Ira Magaziner, designed a legislative behemoth that scared most members of Congress — and the public. Hillary Rodham Clinton alienated the pharmaceutical industry and other interest groups that she ultimately needed to push reform through Congress.” (Editorial, “Health Reform – Dead For Now,” The New York Times, 9/27/94)

  • Loyal Clinton Supporters Agreed That “An Overly Bureaucratic Plan” And “Impaired Presidential Leadership” Led To The Demise Of HillaryCare. “Many participants in the health care reform fight, including Clinton’s most loyal supporters on health care, said that the issue died from the weight of many complicating factors, among them an overly bureaucratic plan, impaired presidential leadership, record campaign and media spending by opponents and rocky relations between the White House and Congress.” (Dana Priest, “Democrats Pull The Plug On Health Care Reform,” The Washington Post, 9/27/94)
  • Democrats Couldn’t Support “Mandatory Employer Contributions That Were At The Heart” Of HillaryCare. “A significant number of Democrats shied away from the mandatory employer contributions that were at the heart of Clinton’s bill and three of the four committee-passed plans.” (Christopher Connell, “Democrats, Republicans Blame Each Other For Demise Of Health Reform,” The Associated Press, 9/27/94)

Under Clinton’s Leadership, Health Care Went From An “Election-Winner For The Democrats” To An Election Loser. “Once considered an election-winner for the Democrats and a must-do in public opinion polls, it became a political liability and people with health insurance became fearful of what the plan would do to their medical care.” (Dana Priest, “Democrats Pull The Plug On Health Care Reform,” The Washington Post, 9/27/94)

  • For Clinton, The Death Of HillaryCare “Was An Unaccustomed Failure.” “It was an unaccustomed failure for a woman used to succeeding at what she does, and friends and colleagues acknowledge that her time in the White House has been trying.” (Ruth Marcus, “Hillary Clinton Soldiers On,” The Washington Post, 9/30/94)

HillaryCare Cost Clinton Her Reputation. “That journey has been particularly rocky for the First Lady, whose complicated health care plan never came close to succeeding. Along the way, she lost her reputation as the administration’s most savvy politician. Now she is at a crossroads in her personal odyssey as First Lady, moving on — after the death of health care — to define what her role will be for the next two years.” (Ruth Marcus, “Hillary Clinton Soldiers On,” The Washington Post, 9/30/94)

  • Clinton’s Favorability Took A Hit, Dropping 20 Percentage Points In Less Than Two Years. “Around President Clinton’s inauguration in January 1993, 67 percent of Americans gave his wife high marks in a Gallup Poll. Now, she is almost as unpopular as her husband — his unfavorable rating is 50 percent and hers is 47 percent, according to a national Gallup Poll taken in early September.” (Angie Cannon, “First Lady Bowed By Setback Letdown: Defeat On Health Care Reform Caps A Tough Year,” San Jose Mercury News, 9/25/94)


Despite The Warnings, HillaryCare’s “Most Optimistic” Health Care Plan Included An Individual And Employer Mandate Now Found In ObamaCare

In A 1993 Memo Outlining Strategy To Pass Health Care Reform, The Clinton White House Listed An Employer And Individual Mandate As Its “Most Optimistic Scenario.”“If we can sustain the public debate, and negotiate well, under the most optimistic scenario, we will wind up with the following type of compromise: universal coverage passed in this bill on our timetable with an employer/individual mandate and larger subsidies or a slower phase-in for smaller companies.” (“Passing Health Reform: Policy And Congressional Summary,”Memo, 1993)

Clinton: “Not Only Will You Be Saying That The Individual Bears The Full Responsibility; You Will Be Sending Shock Waves Through The Currently Insured Population…” HILLARY CLINTON: “Because not only will you be saying that the individual bears the full responsibility; you will be sending shock waves through the currently insured population that if there is no requirement that employers continue to insure, then they, too, may bear the individual responsibility.” (Press Release, “Remarks By The First Lady In Meeting With Senate And House Democratic Leaders And Committee Chairs,” The White House Office Of The Press Secretary , 9/9/93)

  • Bill Clinton’s Draft Remarks On The Individual Mandate Noted That It Would Threaten The Employer-Based Insurance System. CLINTON: “We explored requiring individuals to buy health insurance themselves. But that option would have threatened the current employer-based insurance system that works so well, and made it very difficult to reach our goal of providing comprehensive coverage for every American.” (President Bill Clinton, Draft Remarks For Address To Joint Session of Congress , 9/20/93)

A White House Aide Warned Hillary Clinton That A Prominent House Democrat Was Concerned That An Employer Mandate Would Have “A Devastating” Impact “On Small Businesses.” “Interestingly, besides being the House Small Business Chairman, Congressman LaFalce is a cosponsor of Congressman McDermott’s single payer bill. This meeting will be a general briefing on health care reform.. The Congressman will be particularly interested in the elements our plan share with a single payer system and the steps taken to minimize the impact on small businesses. The Congressman is concerned that health care reform, especially employer mandate approaches, could have a devastating affect on small businesses. It is primarily this concern that has lead LaFalce to support the single payer plan.” ( White House Memo To Hillary Clinton , 6/28/93)

Clinton Has Long Supported ObamaCare’s Individual Mandate Tax And Other Tax Penalties To Enforce Her Plans

In The 2008 Campaign, “The Centerpiece Of Clinton’s Plan Is The So-Called ‘Individual Mandate,’ Requiring Everyone To Have Health Insurance-Just As Most States Require Drivers To Purchase Auto Insurance.” (Beth Fouhy, “Clinton To Offer Health Care Plan,”The Associated Press , 9/17/07)

  • The Individual Mandate Is A “Centerpiece” Of ObamaCare. “A centerpiece of Affordable Care Act, also known as ObamaCare, is a requirement that all individuals carry some minimum health insurance or pay a tax. The new system aims to provide insurance through state marketplaces and subsidies for tens of millions of Americans who lack it.” (Kim Dixon and Patrick Temple-West, “IRS Issues Final Rules On ObamaCare’s ‘Individual Mandate,’” Reuters, 8/27/13)

As First Lady, Clinton Said That Fees Would Be “Deducted From Their Wages Or Obtained Through Tax Deductions” To Enforce Her ’93 Plan. REP. MCDERMOTT: “And if he can’t pay it or doesn’t pay it, or she can’t or doesn’t pay it, what are the enforcement mechanisms?” … CLINTON: “For those individuals who are outside of any other employment relations and are self-employed or an independent contractor, we believe that the incentives and the opportunity to have affordable health care will be very difficult for people to turn away from. And if they show up for care and they cannot show their health security card, then there will be a process put into motion to collect what is due for the care that they have received, so they will be in a sense billed at the point of service, and it will be either deducted from their wages or obtained through tax deductions in some other way.” (First Lady Hillary Clinton, Committee On Ways And Means, U.S. House Of Representatives, Testimony, 9/28/93)

  • Clinton’s 1993 Health Care Working Groups Proposed Punishing Americans That Didn’t Sign Up For Health Insurance To Pay An Additional 20 Percent Surcharge On Top Of Their Monthly Premiums. “The individual (or if it can be determined that the individual is a legal dependent, i.e., is being claimed as a dependent for income tax purposes by someone, then that someone is the responsible party) will from that point on be billed for the applicable share (if any) premiums for that plan plus a 20 percent premium surcharge. The surcharge will last for the next 12 months worth of premiums.” (“Mandates And Enrollment Low Income And Non-Working,” Clinton Library Documents, 3/4/93, p. 9)

Clinton Also Endorsed An Employer Mandate On Steroids That Would Bring More Pain To American Businesses Than ObamaCare

Clinton’s Health Plan Had Mandated That Employers Provide Health Insurance Or Pay Into A National Fund. “Many 2008 Democratic presidential candidates, most recently Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York, are embracing the notion of the so-called ‘pay or play’ insurance coverage mandate, which would require employers to provide health coverage to their employees or pay a tax into a national fund that would provide the coverage for them.” (Sara Lubbes, “Perils And Pluses Of ‘Play Or Pay’ Insurance Mandates,” CQ HealthBeat News, 9/18/07)

Under Clinton’s 2008 Health Plan, Small Businesses That Employed More Than 25 Workers Would Be Subjected To The Employer Mandate. “Highlights of Clinton’s Health Plan … Require large employers to either cover their workers or else contribute to the costs of those coverage costs. Tax credits would be provided to encourage small businesses (those with fewer than 25 workers) to provide health insurance, but they would not be required to do so. Tax credits would also be provided to large employers with high retiree health care costs.” (“Clinton Sees Better Chances For Health Overhaul,” NPR, 9/18/07)


Clinton Pushed For And Defended Obama’s Signature Legislative Achievement – ObamaCare

While In Obama’s Cabinet, Clinton Pushed For ObamaCare. “President Obama receives a congratulatory hug from Hillary Clinton the day after the House passed the Affordable Care Act. Clinton, who had pushed for health care reform when her husband was president, supported Obama’s insistence that the law be passed and spoke up on the president’s behalf during a cabinet meeting.” (Jonathan Allen and Amie Parnes, HRC: State Secrets And The Rebirth Of Hillary Clinton, 2014)

  • “She Defended The President’s Health Plan Against Doubting Cabinet Colleagues, A Moment The Authors Describe As ‘Pivotal, If Underappreciated.’”(Liza Mundy, “Book World: ‘HRC,’ Inside Clinton’s State Dept. And The Political Machine,” The Washington Post , 2/6/14)

Clinton Has Called ObamaCare “A Very Important Step Forward” For Our Country.“‘Nobody is saying Obamacare is a perfect bill,’ Clinton added. ‘But it was a very important step forward on behalf of our country’ to lessen health care costs and get people ensured.” (Maggie Haberman, “Hillary Clinton Defends ObamaCare, Slams Defunding Efforts,” Politico, 9/24/13)

Then-Candidate Barack Obama: “Let’s Take Health Care. About 95 Percent Of Our Plans Are Similar.” (Barack Obama, Democratic Presidential Debate, Los Angeles, CA, 1/31/08)


When Touting HillaryCare, Clinton Made The Same Exact Broken Promise That Obama Made To Sell ObamaCare

In 2008, Then-Candidate Clinton Said That Her Health Care Plan “Tells People, If You Have Health Insurance And You Are Happy With It, Nothing Changes.” HILLARY CLINTON:” Well, let me start by saying that this is the passionate cause of my public service. I started trying to expand health care many years ago, first to children, then to rural areas in Arkansas, and obviously tackled it during my husband’s administration. And the reason why I have designed a plan that, number one, tells people, if you have health insurance and you are happy with it, nothing changes, is because we want to maximize choice for people.” (Hillary Clinton, Democratic Presidential Debate, Los Angeles, CA, 1/31/08)

  • In A 1994 White House Memo, Clinton Aides Worried About Over-Promising That People Would Be Able To Choose Their Doctors And Health Plans Since “We Know Full Well We Won’t Deliver.” “We have a line on p. 10 that says ‘You’ll pick the health plan and doctor of your choice.’ This sounds great and I know that it’s just what people want to hear. But can we get away with it? Isn’t the whole thrust of our health plan to steer people toward cheaper, HMO-style providers? It’s one thing to say we’ll preserve your option to pick the doctor of your choice (recognizing that this will cost more), it’s quite another to appear to promise the nation that everyone will get to pick the doctor of his or her choice. And that’s exactly what this line does. I am very worried about getting skewered or over-promising here on something we know full well we won’t deliver.” (White House Memo, 1/22/94)

President Obama: “If You Like Your Plan, You Can Keep Your Plan. If You Like Your Doctor, You Can Keep Your Doctor.” OBAMA: “If you like your plan, you can keep your plan. If you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor. I can tell you, as the father of two young girls, I would not want any plan that interferes with the relationship between a family and their doctor.” (President Barack Obama, Remarks On Health Care Reform, Washington, D.C., 3/3/10)

PolitiFact Headline: “Lie Of The Year: ‘If You Like Your Health Care Plan, You Can Keep It.’” (Angie Drobnic Holan, “Lie Of The Year: ‘If You Like Your Health Care Plan, You Can Keep It,’” PolitiFact, 12/12/13)

  • CNN’s Jake Tapper On Obama’s Keep Your Plan Promise: “The Number One Lie Of The Year.” CNN’s JAKE TAPPER: “The lie of the year. Control room, can we get a drumroll? So here it is, by popular demand, the number one lie of the year, based on something the President first said in 2009, and updated in 2013. OBAMA: If you like your health care plan, you can keep your health care plan.” (CNN’s “The Lead With Jake Tapper,” 12/12/13)

Like ObamaCare, HillaryCare Was Sold As Being Affordable For Everyone

Then Candidate Hillary Clinton Promised That Affordable Health Care For Everyone. HILLARY CLINTON: “So I am adamantly in favor of universal health care. And that means everybody is covered. And we will have a system to make it affordable, but it will be required, as part of shared responsibility, under a new way of making sure that we don’t leave anybody out and provide quality, affordable health care for everyone.” (Hillary Clinton, Democratic Presidential Debate, Myrtle Beach, SC, 1/21/08)

Upcoming Health Insurance Rates For 2015 Are On The Rise. “Most state health insurance rates for 2015 are scheduled to be approved by early fall, and most are likely to rise, timing that couldn’t be worse for Democrats already on defense in the midterms.” (Edward-Isaac Dovere, “ObamaCare’s Next Threat: A September Surprise,” Politico, 7/7/14)

  • According To A New Analysis By The Health Research Institute At Pricewaterhouse Coopers Found That “Health Insurance Exchanges Will Rise By An Average Of 7.5 Percent Next Year.” “Premiums on ObamaCare’s health insurance exchanges will rise by an average of 7.5 percent next year, according to a new analysis.” (Elise Viebeck, “ObamaCare Premiums Slated To Rise By An Average Of 7.5 Percent,”The Hill, 8/11/14)

This Fall, Consumers Will Find That They Have To Pay More Next Year Or Switch To Another Health Care Plan. “But that’s only part of the reason inertia is so expensive for ObamaCare enrollees. The vast majority of enrollees don’t pay the full cost of their premiums-85 percent are getting financial help from the government. And many of those consumers will find that their subsidies don’t go as far next year, even for the same plans. The size of each person’s subsidy is tied to a “benchmark” plan. Poorer consumers only have to spend a certain percentage of their income for that plan; the government pays the rest of the premium. If you choose a more expensive policy, you have to pay the difference on your own.” (Sam Baker, “If You Like Your ObamaCare Plan, It’ll Cost You,”National Journal, 8/5/14)

  • To Prevent Sticker Shock, Many Consumers Will Need To Switch To A New Health Plan Or Pay Higher Out-Of-Pocket Costs. “Many consumers will need to switch plans in order to keep their costs steady, but health care experts question how many people will do that. Switching plans can entail changing your doctor and adjusting to new out-of-pocket costs, never mind the fresh trek The White House has already set up an auto-renewal process, making it easier to stick with the status quo.” (Sam Baker, “If You Like Your ObamaCare Plan, It’ll Cost You,” National Journal, 8/5/14)


During A Recent Interview, Hillary Clinton Said That If She Was Up For Reelection, She Would Run In Favor Of ObamaCare. “Hillary Clinton has yet to announce whether she is running for president in 2016, but in an interview that aired Wednesday, Clinton outlined how she would run in favor of Obamacare ‘if [she] were a Democrat running for reelection in 2014.’” (Dan Merica, “Hillary Clinton Wants 2014 Democrats To Run On ObamaCare,” CNN, 6/25/14)

  • Hillary Clinton: “Democrats ‘Need To’ Run On ObamaCare.” “Clinton, who in the past has said she is both supportive of Obamacare and of fixes to change the law, told PBS NewsHour’s Gwen Ifill in an interview taped Tuesday that Democrats ‘need to’ run on President Barack Obama’s sweeping healthcare law.” (Dan Merica, “Hillary Clinton Wants 2014 Democrats To Run On ObamaCare,” CNN, 6/25/14)

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