Clinton vs. Clinton on Health Care

By Evan Harris

Apr 18, 2010 10:45am

You would think if you asked Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and former President Bill Clinton the same question about health care, you would probably get the same answer. Turns out that’s not the case.


Last week, I asked Secretary Clinton if Obama was able to get health care reform passed because the Clinton White House laid the groundwork for him to succeed. Her answer: no. The former President’s answer to the same question: “Absolutely.”


Take a look at the video HERE:

TAPPER:  And lastly, healthcare reform.  When you look at President
Obama’s success that he was able to get this done.  Do you think, “Oh,
that’s how you do it?”  Or do you think that the only way he was able to
do it was because you and your husband stormed the castle first.  And
even if it didn’t work, you laid the ground work for President Obama to
help to be able to succeed?


HILLARY CLINTON:  Jake, I don’t think either of those things.  I think thank
goodness.  Finally the United States is going to have a system that will
begin to meet the needs of all of our people, reform our insurance
industry which is long overdue.  Begin to control costs, which is
absolutely critical.  And, you know, it’s been a long time coming.  It
goes back many decades.  And I think it’s an extraordinary historical
achievement.  And I’m delighted to, you know, have — have seen it come
to pass.


—–


TAPPER:  When you were watching healthcare reform finally pass after having tried it yourself, did you — did you see it as something like, “I’m glad we stormed the castle in ‘93-‘94, because that paved the way for this?”


BILL CLINTON:  Absolutely.  You know, before I did it President Nixon had tried, President Truman had tried.  President Johnson who had the biggest congressional majority didn’t even try for universal healthcare. He did two important things — Medicare and Medicaid.  But he thought even with that Congress he couldn’t get it.


We were the first administration that ever got a bill out of committee. We got two or three bills out of committee.  And once I saw William Kristol’s memo to Bob Dole, I realized we never had a chance.  Because we couldn’t pass it without five or six Republicans.  They — they — I had an obstacle President Obama didn’t have.  They had an absolute, clear filibuster number.  That is, they had 45 Republican senators. They could have lost four and still defeated me.


I felt like the — Teddy Roosevelt would have felt if he’d still been alive in the 1930s seeing his cousin Franklin being able to sign legislation in areas that he had advocated.  And you know that took two decades.  And this took less time.  So I actually — I was thrilled by it.  And worked hard.  Hillary and I lobbied people all over the weekend before the vote.  And she and I were ecstatic.


It’s — it’s — sometimes takes a long time to change a country.  And you — and I think frankly now they will keep changing this bill. They’ll have to keep working on it and putting more cost drivers in it to take the cost down.  But it’s a big, big step.  And it’s a wonderful thing for the country.

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