Bill Clinton takes blame for ’90s health-care failures

Former President Bill Clinton said on Thursday that his wife, presidential hopeful Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY) unfairly took the blame for a failed plan to reform the nation’s health-care system in the early 1990s.

“You know how much she cares about this,” Bill Clinton told an audience in Glenwood, Iowa, according to an article in The New York Times. “She has taken the rap for some of the problems we had with health care the last time that were far more my fault than hers.”

Bill Clinton takes the blame

Among Bill Clinton’s reasons not to criticize his wife for the failure of their health plan were:

  • “Let’s just face it. We couldn’t raise money.”
  • Bill Clinton was opposed by most of Congress at that time (he said)

The former president’s suggestions

Bill Clinton said that this time around, when the tax cut for upper-class Americans ends, the government will have a surplus of money that was not available in 1993, when he first tried to revamp the health-care system. This money, he said, will help finance a universal health-care system.

He also said that in the current race for president, the support from business and industry for health reform is stronger, and the opposition is reduced.

“And the need is more apparent,” he said. “Half of all bankruptcies in this decade were caused by family health emergencies.”

Will this have an effect on the race?

It’s not likely – as fellow Democratic candidate Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) said, Hillary Clinton cannot take the credit for an attempted health-care overhaul if she does not take the blame for its failure.

“All I know is that part of the record she’s running on is having worked on health care,” Obama said, “so it’s kind of hard to gauge if one of her claims is to have experience in this issue to then suggest that somehow she doesn’t have anything to do with the fact that it didn’t work.”

It sounds to me like Bill Clinton is just being a supportive husband and trying to assist his wife’s campaign for the presidency. While it’s great to have a former president campaigning for you, I doubt it’s enough to win the race – Hillary Clinton will have to prove to voters that she has the best health-care plan and that she has the ability to implement it effectively.

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