Pre Obamacare, what sank the Clinton health care reform effort 20 years ago?
Years ago, I remember President Clinton in a speech showing a mockup of a then-proposed health security card which was part of the Clinton health care reform effort. The idea was that everyone would be covered period. According to USA Today in 2009, Clinton stated the following:
“Under our plan, every American will receive a health security card that will guarantee you a comprehensive package of benefits over the course of your life that will equal benefits provided by most Fortune 500 corporations. This card will guarantee you a comprehensive package of benefits that can never be taken away. And let us pledge tonight: Before this Congress adjourns next year, you will pass, and I will sign a new law to create health security for every American.” Read the article that compared both Obamacare and Clinton’s plans here.
The plan he proposed was degraded as being too complicated, expensive, and would have had us in an American Single Payer system that was well developed by now. The famous Harry and Louise commercials wielded a blow to the plan shifting opinion away from the Clinton plan. There were concerns about regulation raised however, once you peel away the politics, the real problem was that these commercials were insurance company-sponsored, designed to kill any reform that did not include them. The Clinton promise to cover everyone from cradle to grave is a single-payer solution, something that has been proved to work well in most countries. Many countries allow insurance carriers to sell secondary insurance on the open market, similar to the way insurers sell medi-gap coverage for Medicare. Since Medi-gap is not mandatory, insurers would have to price themselves more competitively and offer creative reasons for the average American to want to buy additional coverage (something the industry has been able to do in many areas of our lives successfully).
Moving ahead 20 years, the Obama administration learned these lessons well, and pre-negotiated with many of the big money interests that would have done the same thing, which is why we have the exchanges, the private insurers and the mess that is undoubtedly more expensive and less cohesive than a single-payer system. It also requires many more taxes and people to be hired by the government to run, and collect the huge assortment of fees and penalties that need to be collected to make this thing run. This plan requires many to apply for government insurance subsidies while other folks pay more. In my case, a plan similar to the non deluxe plan I have now is about $600 more per month on the exchange, a huge amount of money for coverage that 10 years ago would have covered more and cost less than half of the exchange rate.
The fact is that the Affordable healthcare act is hardly affordable, and while it does cover more things for preventative care (some are questionable as to their medical value), it has no real mechanism for an intelligent reshaping of our healthcare system. Instead, the act keeps all the players and creators of the problem who have donated money to our legislators in place, while we all pay more for less healthcare services. The worst part of all of this is that the healthcare providers are in general making far less than they did 12 years ago while the money has gone into the system, into technology which has hardly made our system better.
Perhaps, we will find ourselves in 5 years with a single-payer model, or perhaps with Medicare for all which is able to better negotiate to keep some costs in line (although the Medicare part D for drugs is a bad add on since it was corrupted in its inception by not allowing negotiation for drug pricing).
To see more about the history of the Clinton effort on healthcare, check this article out
Clinton Docs Offer Glimpse Into Failed Health Care FightBY CARRIE DANN
Newly released documents from the Clinton White House reveal a candid assessment of the looming fight over the administration’s doomed health care plan, as advisers tried unsuccessfully to steer the sprawling legislation through Congress.
A series of 1993 memos and briefing notes shows how the Clinton White House anticipated — but was ultimately overwhelmed by — Republican lines of attack against the health care reform effort, which collapsed under criticism through 1993 and 1994. The documents also show the administration’s early defense of its decision to draft a bill that critics derided as overly complex, even as advisers acknowledged that it would need to be simplified.
“The potential exists for them to succeed if they convince the majority of Americans with good coverage that quality of care will deteriorate, rationing of care will occur, their costs will rise to finance the uninsured and the creation of a big government bureaucracy, [and] choice of doctor will be limited,” unlisted advisers warned in a lengthy strategy memo released Friday by the Clinton Library.
That same listing of critiques has been mirrored in continuing criticism of President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul, which was signed into law in 2010 but remains the target of GOP attempts for repeal today.