How Hillary Clinton Prevented Us From Having Universal Health Care

Democrats who desire true health care reform, as opposed to a monument to Hillary Clinton’s ego, have been frustrated by Clinton’s dishonest attacks on Barack Obama’s health care plan. The Memphis Daily News describes how Clinton blocked another health care plan when she was First Lady, and why U.S. Rep. Jim Cooper of Tennessee supports Obama:

Cooper, the state chairman of Obama’s campaign in Tennessee, said his speech at the Holiday Inn-University of Memphis would focus on the 2008 presidential contest in general terms. But a look at his dealings with the first lady in the 1990s helps put his current political stance into context.

The year was 1993, and the focus was on comprehensive health care reform. The Clinton administration was mounting a full-court press in persuading congressional leaders to sign on to a health care bill championed by the White House.

Cooper had a health care bill of his own.

“They turned up their nose at my bill, and that’s fine. But then they constructed this secret 500-person task force to draft a whole new bill – and I knew it would go nowhere,” Cooper said. “So I went privately to the White House to warn (Hillary Clinton). No publicity. No nothing.

“She brought in a camera to record the meeting. And she has not released the memos on this meeting. She immediately declared war on me. I warned her we didn’t even have the votes (for her bill) in our subcommittee. She said, ‘We’re going to (politically) cut your legs off.’ I’ve never gotten such a cold reception as I got from her.”

Cooper said the first lady set up a war room to undercut Cooper, who was gearing up for a run at the U.S. Senate in 1994. And a former television news reporter from Nashville was tasked with leading that war room, he said.

“Bill Clinton couldn’t have been nicer to me during this period,” said Cooper, who still keeps an old photograph of himself that was taken during a visit to the first lady’s West Wing office in the White House during the 1990s. “I went running with him. I played golf with him. I was asked to hang out in the White House with him.

“I respect Hillary supporters because they haven’t had the chance to get to know her like I have. She does not have the political skills of her husband. Or Barack. You need somebody who can bring people together. She criticized my health care bill because it wouldn’t achieve universal coverage until 1998. Well, today we’d be celebrating the 10th anniversary of having every American with insurance.”

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2 Comments

  1. 1
    beachmom says:

    Ron — just curious.  Have you checked out Cooper’s plan.  Was it any good?

  2. 2
    Ron Chusid says:

    It was so long ago that I don’t recall the specifics of his plan. With regards to the current election, one interesting aspect is that he clashed with Clinton back in 1992 as he opposed mandates.

    The important thing isn’t whether Cooper’s plan was the way to go but that Clinton prevented anything from being done by taking the attitude that it was her plan or nothing. With that choice, we got nothing.

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