More headlines: Hillary Clinton on Health Care

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FactCheck: Yes, she deserves credit for SCHIP

Clinton’s foes say she doesn’t deserve credit for expanding federal health insurance, a claim Clinton has made literally thousands of times. She “got health insurance for six million kids,” according to one ad.

We review the record and conclude that she deserves plenty of credit, both for the passage of the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) legislation and for pushing outreach efforts to translate the law into reality.

The Boston Globe ran a story with the headline, “Clinton role in health programs disputed.“ We reviewed the Globe story: it quotes a political foe, Sen. Orrin Hatch. About Sen. Ted Kennedy, who cosponsored the original 1997 SCHIP legislation, the Globe said he wouldn’t criticize Clinton ”directly.“ Kennedy is now backing Obama, but said last year, ”The children’s health program wouldn’t be in existence today if we didn’t have Hillary pushing for it from the other end of Pennsylvania Avenue.“ Others concur. Our conclusion: Clinton is right on this one.

Source: analysis of 2008 campaign ad, “Obligation” Mar 18, 2008

Restore National Institutes of Health funding

It’s just outrageous that under Bush, the National Institutes of Health have been basically decreased in funding. We are on the brink of so many medical breakthroughs, and I will once again fund that research, get those applications processed, get those young researchers in those labs, to know that we’re going to tackle cancer and try to do everything we can to drive its death rate down.
Source: 2007 Democratic debate at Drexel University Oct 30, 2007

Passion for healthcare rooted in Jesus’ teachings

In 1996, the first lady delivered the keynote speech to the annual United Methodist General Conference. This was one of Hillary’s finest religious speeches.

“Children need us. They are not rugged individualists. They depend, first and foremost, on their parents, who bear the primary responsibility for their upbringing.” She cited Jesus as the chief motivation in her government-based health care ministry to children.

“Take the image we have of Jesus and transposing it onto the face of every child we see, then we would ask ourselves, would I turn that child away from the health care that child needs?“

In this one passage, she brought her two predominant interests--health care and children--together under the umbrella of religion, in a telling explanation of her motivations for universal health care. It was an important display of the relationship between her private Christianity and her public policy. God had led her to believe in the value of nationalized health care.

Source: God and Hillary Clinton, by Paul Kengor, p.156-157 Jul 18, 2007

FactCheck: Yes, AIDS is leading disease of young black women

We found that the candidates’ claims checked out, even some of the more conspicuous ones. Our ears perked up when Sen. Hillary Clinton talked about the impact of HIV/AIDS on African American women. Clinton said, “If HIV/AIDS were the leading cause of death of white women between the ages of 25 and 34, there would be an outraged outcry in this country.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, HIV/AIDS is indeed the leading cause of death of black women aged 25 to 34. Sen. Clinton also accused the Bush Administration of “disgracefully” keeping funding for the Ryan White HIV/AIDS program “flat,” and in fact, spending on that program has hovered at just over $2 billion for the past five years, according to figures from the Department of Health and Human Services.

Source: FactCheck on 2007 Democratic Primary Debate at Howard U. Jun 28, 2007

Lower costs and improve quality and cover everybody

We have to lower costs, improve quality and cover everybody. What’s important and what I learned in the previous effort is you’ve got to have the political will -- a broad coalition of business and labor, doctors, nurses, hospitals, everybody -- standing firm when the inevitable attacks come from the insurance companies and the pharmaceutical companies that don’t want to change they system because they make so much money out of it.
Source: 2007 Dem. debate at Saint Anselm College Jun 3, 2007

Health goal is affordable coverage for all

Q: Would you support a universal health care bill?

CLINTON: We need to take step-by-step progress toward providing insurance for every American. I’d expand the Children’s Health Insurance Program. I’d allow people between 55 and 65 to buy into Medicare. I want to see mental health considered on parity. He’s opposed the “patients’ bill of rights” that is supported in a bipartisan coalition, as well as by 300 medical and health groups. And he’s gone for the GOP version of the prescription drug benefit, which wouldn’t cover 650,000 New Yorkers.

LAZIO: Mrs. Clinton’s plan in 1993 would have been an unmitigated disaster. No New Yorker would ever have written a bill that would have led to 75,000 jobs being destroyed, health care rationing and the destruction of many of our teaching hospitals. I have supported doubling the amount of money that we spend on health care research. I have voted for deductibility for those employees who are not covered by an employer’s plan.

Source: Senate debate in Manhattan Oct 8, 2000

Health care reform is key to a “new politics of meaning”

[In 1993, in her first speech following her father’s funeral], Hillary grappled with questions raised by medical technology: When does life start? When does life end? Who makes those decisions? Moving into policy questions: How do we get rid of regulation & bureaucracy, and substitute instead human caring, concern & love? She cast health care reform as critical to a broader search for a “new politics of meaning” in a society she said had failed to confront technological change & spiritual decay
Source: Hillary’s Choice by Gail Sheehy, p.234 Dec 9, 1999

Universal coverage, cost containment, & managed competition

In 1993, Hillary’s Health Care Task Force was running into major obstacles. The first one was self-inflicted. Given Hillary’s penchant for secrecy, doctors were shut out of the task force’s deliberations, as were lobbyists and journalists. Behind closed doors, Hillary began working toward her vision: universal coverage, cost containment, more primary care physicians, managed competition, and global budgeting. In effect, Hillary was attempting to reform a system larger than the entire economy of Italy.
Source: Hillary’s Choice by Gail Sheehy, p.235 Dec 9, 1999

Work toward affordable universal health care

There are 41 million people without health insurance. Who will take care of these people in the future? How will we pay for their care? How will we pay for the extra costs that come when someone is not treated for a chronic disease or turned away from the emergency room? The job of health care reform cannot be done when access to care depends on skin color or the neighborhood they live in or the amount of money in their wallet. Let’s continue to work toward universal affordable, quality health care.
Source: Harvard Medical School Address Jun 4, 1998

1979: Named by Bill as AR healthcare head; program worked

The budget book Bill Clinton presented to the Arkansas state legislature in 1979 had identifiable priorities, including providing a rural health care system in a state where doctors and hospitals were many miles away from people with little means of transportation.

He appointed Hillary to head his health care advisory committee. He had appointed a health commissioner from out of state who had proposed that nurse-practitioners be permitted to serve as doctors in many areas where physicians were scarce. Bill appointed Hillary to solve the problem of delivering expanded health care to the poorest counties without taking a bite from doctors’ fees. Hillary used her contacts in Washington to obtain federal money to pay for rural health care services in Arkansas. Four rural clinics were opened almost immediately, construction began on three others, and the use of midwives and nurse-practitioners was expanded.

Source: A Woman in Charge, by Carl Bernstein, p.147 Jun 5, 2007

Still scarred from ‘94 failure, but ready for universal care

I tried to achieve universal health care back in ‘93 or ‘94, and I still have the scars from that experience. You know, I take it as a perverse form of flattery, actually, that if they weren’t worried, they would not be so vitriolic in their criticism of me.

Because I believe that the country is ready for change. I believe America is ready now for universal health care. It is ready to clean up the government after the corruption and the cronyism of the Bush years.

Source: 2007 South Carolina Democratic primary debate, on MSNBC Apr 26, 2007

Proposed Natl Health Board to oversee employee cooperatives

Hillary’s 1993 plan for managed competition would band employers and employees into huge cooperatives with the bargaining power to challenge the insurance industry. It would force doctors, hospitals, and insurers to form partnerships in order to compete in offering the highest-quality health care at the lowest cost. The new competitive health marketplace would be overseen by a National Health Board.
Source: Hillary’s Choice by Gail Sheehy, p.240-241 Dec 9, 1999

Vince Foster's downturn when Hillary's task force got sued

I think the beginning of Vince's downturn was when the Health Care Task Force was sued. That happened when those opposed to health care reform went into court to force all White House meeting on this issue to be made open to the public under the Federal Advisory Committee Act. It happened very soon, in early February, and though the effect on Vince was one that would build over time, the immediate effect was a subtle shift in his relationship with Hillary. Instead of a team working together toward a glorious goal, they were suddenly attorney and client. His legal advice was now front-page news. And with the pressure Hillary was under to get a health care bill passed in the administration's avowed "one hundred days," she became a very demanding client indeed.
Source: Friends in High Places, by Webb Hubbell, p.193-194 Nov 1, 1997

Medicare is biased against nursing home alternatives

The problem for Americans in the Medicare program is there is no support for alternatives to nursing home care. We want to provide long-term care options, so that families will not be forced to put their family members in nursing homes.

Providing a home health aide, giving some respite to the full-time caretaker of an Alzheimer’s patient, that is all much cheaper than putting the person in a nursing home. Let’s enable older people to live with dignity.

Source: Unique Voice, p.161: Speech at Washington University Mar 15, 1994

Stupid to spend on administration rather than on doctoring

We have the finest doctors and hospitals in the world. We spend money on paperwork, we spend money on bureaucracy, that we shouldn’t have to spend. What the president’s plan is designed to do is to put doctors back in charge of the system, where they can be making the decisions, not insurance company executives or government, which is the way it is too often today.
Source: Unique Voice, p.154: Speech to American Legion Conference Feb 15, 1994

Guaranteed benefits & focus on prevention

I know no way to attempt what we are doing; to achieve universal coverage, to guarantee a comprehensive benefits package, to begin to simplify a system that has become much too cumbersome, bureaucratic, and overregulated, to attempt to begin to achieve savings and eliminate inefficiencies, but at the same time to enhance quality, to guarantee choice.

We should build on the employer system. The employers contribute, those who work contribute, and all of us are thus paying our fair share.

Source: Unique Voice, p.165: Speech at Institute of Medicine Oct 19, 1993

Americans want system with quality & choice

We have looked at every other system in the world. We have tried to talk to every expert whom we can find to describe how any other country tries to provide health care. We have concluded that what is needed is an American solution for an American problem by creating an American health care system that works for America. Two of the principals that underlie that American solution are quality and choice.
Source: Unique Voice, p.149: Speech to American Medical Association Jun 13, 1993

AdWatch: My plan costs $1,700 less per person than Obama’s

Clinton TV ad, “False Charges”

Announcer: He couldn’t answer tough questions in the debate. So Barack Obama is making false charges against Hillary’s health care plan. She has a plan everyone can afford. Obama’s will cost taxpayers $1,700 more t cover each new person. Hillary’s plan covers everyone. Obama’s leaves 15 million people out. Obama’s attacks have been called “destructive and poisoning.” There are more and more questions about Obama. Instead of attacking, maybe he should answer them.

Source: AdWatch of 2008 campaign ad: “False Charges” Apr 21, 2008

FactCheck: Yes, Hillary’s plan might include wage garnishing

Obama’s TV ad says that Hillary’s healthcare plan “forces everyone to buy insurance, even if you can’t afford it. And you pay a penalty if you don’t.”

It is true that Clinton’s plan would force everyone to buy insurance. Nevertheless, the Clinton camp objects, saying the claim is false. The objection is to the phrase, “even if you can’t afford it.” Clinton says everybody will be able to afford coverage under her plan.

We agree that the ad could mislead anyone who isn’t aware that the Clinton plan would provide subsidies to help people buy health insurance, but Obama’s basic point here is sound. Clinton’s personal mandate would require some sort of enforcement mechanism, such as garnisheeing the wages of those who refuse to comply or automatically deducting the premiums from workers’ pay whether they agree to it or not. Clinton said on Feb. 3 that “I think there are a number of mechanisms, going after people’s wages, automatic enrollment, when you are at the place of employment.”

Source: AdWatch of 2008 campaign ad: “Phantom Saving” Apr 21, 2008

FactCheck: “$1,700 less than Obama plan” misinterprets study

Clinton counterattacked an Obama ad, accusing Obama of making “false charges” and saying his plan would cost taxpayers $1,700 more than hers to cover each new person. It may be correct that Clinton’s plan will cost taxpayers less to insure each previously uninsured individual, but the $1,700 figure is a misinterpretation of a study done by one economist.

The Clinton campaign cited as its source a paper by MIT’s Jonathan Gruber, “Covering the Uninsured in the US”. However, Gruber’s paper does not actually compare Clinton’s plan with Obama’s. It compares a Clinton-like plan with mandates and a plan that (unlike Obama’s) does not include any mandates at all. A plan with an individual mandate in his study was “sort of a guess of what a Clinton-like plan would look like,” Gruber told us. He said of Obama, “He’s got an excellent plan which I strongly believe will cover the majority of the uninsured in America. It just wouldn’t cover them all.”

Source: AdWatch of 2008 campaign ad: “False Charges” Apr 21, 2008

Without a universal mandate, it’s not universal health care

CLINTON: I think it’s imperative that we stand as Democrats for universal health care. I’ve staked out a claim for that. Sen. Edwards did. Others have. But Sen. Obama has not.

OBAMA: Well, look, I believe in universal health care, as does Sen. Clinton. And the point of the debate, is that Sen. Clinton repeatedly claims that I don’t stand for universal health care. And, you know, for Sen. Clinton to say that, I think, is simply not accurate. Every expert has said that anybody who wants health care under my plan will be able to obtain it. President Clinton’s own secretary of Labor has said that my plan does more to reduce costs and as a consequence makes sure that the people who need health care right now, all across America, will be able to obtain it.

Source: 2008 Democratic Debate in Cleveland Feb 26, 2008

I want to be the health care president

Q: As first lady, your major initiative was health care. You acknowledge that you did some things wrong in that. If, in fact, you made fundamental misjudgments on health care as first lady, why shouldn’t voters say, “She doesn’t have the judgment to be president”?

A: Well, I’m proud that I tried to get universal health care back in ‘94. It was a tough fight. It was kind of a lonely fight. But it was worth trying. I made mistakes, but the biggest mistake was that we didn’t take the opportunity that was offered back then to move toward quality affordable health care for every single American. But I’ve come back with a different plan that I believe is much better reflective of what people want, namely, an array of choices. You can keep what you have. But if you’re uninsured or you’re underinsured, you’ll now have access to the congressional plan. You see a lot of people with those stickers that say, “I’m a health care voter.” Well, I want to be the health care president.

Source: 2007 Democratic primary debate at Dartmouth College Sep 6, 2007

Bottom line is cost; mine is more affordable than Obama’s

OBAMA: If we don’t know the level of subsidies that [Hillary’s plan is] going to provide, then you can have a situation, which we are seeing right now in the state of Massachusetts, where people are being fined for not having purchased health care but choose to accept the fine because they still can’t afford it, even with the subsidies. And they are then worse off.

CLINTON: And under my plan, it is affordable because, number one, we have enough money in our plan. A comparison of the plans like the ones we’re proposing found that actually I would cover nearly everybody at a much lower cost than Sen. Obama’s plan because we would not only provide these health care tax credits, but I would limit the amount of money that anyone ever has to pay for a premium to a low percentage of your income. So it will be affordable.

OBAMA: It is just not accurate to say that Sen. Clinton does more to control costs than mine. That is not the case. There are many experts who have concluded that she does not.

Source: 2008 Democratic Debate in Cleveland Feb 26, 2008

Obama’s plan includes mandate on 150 million parents

CLINTON: Sen. Obama has a mandate in his plan. It’s a mandate on parents to provide health insurance for their children. That’s about 150 million people who would be required to do that.

OBAMA: We still don’t know how Sen. Clinton intends to enforce a mandate. The question is, are we going to make sure that it is affordable for everybody? And that’s my goal when I’m president.

CLINTON: You know, Sen. Obama has a mandate. He would enforce the mandate by requiring parents to buy insurance for their children.

OBAMA: This is true.

CLINTON: If you have a mandate, it has to be enforceable. So there’s no difference here.

OBAMA: No, there is a difference. I do provide a mandate for children, because, number one, we have created a number of programs in which we can have greater assurance that those children will be covered at an affordable price. [But for adults, a mandate would] force them to purchase insurance, or they will be penalized. And that is what Sen. Clinton’s plan does.

Source: 2008 Democratic Debate in Cleveland Feb 26, 2008

My health care program will cover everyone

Q: Why is it that African-American women would be better off in your health care program?

A: My health care program will cover everyone. I don’t leave anybody out. It is a universal system. It will build on the congressional plan that provides health care for members of Congress, their staffs, government employees, and therefore it is not a new system. It is not government-run. It has the advantage of being proven, so that we can withstand what will be obviously the attacks coming from the Republicans, and the right, and the drug companies, and the health insurance companies. It also will give comprehensive health care to everyone. It’s especially important we do that with chronic diseases. HIV/AIDS has become a chronic disease. We’re able to keep people alive in the US. We don’t do enough around the world. We don’t do enough yet to get the services as quickly as necessary to a lot of our people who are not given the kind of immediate help that they deserve.

Source: 2008 Congressional Black Caucus Democratic debate Jan 21, 2008

Other candidates on Health Care: Hillary Clinton on other issues:
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