Sunday, March 15, 2015


Hillary was determined to sweep aside the best medical delivery system in the world and to reshape 14 percent of America’s econo0my by enacting a national health care plan.

Barbara Olson, General Counsel for U.S. Senate, Hell to Pay; The Unfolding Story of Hillary Rodham Clinton, Regnery Books, 1999

Hillary Clinton is prohibitively favored to win the Democratic Presidential nomination, and at the moment, she leads all potential Republican candidates in polls by large margins.

Given this situation, it may be instructive to examine her past performance in health care. When Bill Clinton became president, she announced she would put together a national health plan within 100 days and would pass it into law in 1993. President Clinton named her to head his Health Care Reform Task Force. She interviewed 200 experts from the executive branch to make up the task force. Her task force members were never named, operated in total secrecy, and excluded participants from the private sector.

Ira Magaziner, Hillary's handpicked academic policy wonk, led the group. He reviewed, evaluated and corrected all recommendations. Magaziner refused to openly discuss or summarize the proceedings. Hillary, in turn, refused to compromise with Congressional Democrats, Congressman, Jim Cooper and Senator, John Breaux, who had plans of their own.

When Hillary’s plan finally surfaced it was 1,326 pages and filled 268 boxes. It proposed to expand Medicare and absorb Medicaid into a new system of universal coverage. It had an employer mandate. Its centerpiece were regional alliances from which consumers would pick plans. It smacked of total bureaucratic control. The alliances would serve as purchasing agents, contract negotiators, welfare agencies, financial intermediaries, collectors of premiums, developers and managers of information systems, and coordinators of information and money.

The Jackson Hole Group, led by Paul Ellwood, M.D., denounced the plan as unworkable. The New Republic said it was what happened “when you crossed management blather with paleoliberal ambition.” Daniel Patrick Moynihan, the liberal Democratic Senator from New York was aghast when he learned the plan would cut the number of doctors by 25% and the number of specialists by 50%. He called the plan the “deliberate dumbing down of medicine.”

The plan went down in bipartisan flames. Critics called it illegal and said it violated “open meeting” laws. Magaziner became a scapegoat. Hillary tried to revive her plan by vilifying the insurance and pharmaceutical industries, who struck back with “Harry and Louise” ads that ridiculed the plan. Senator George Mitchell finally sat down with the Clintons in August 1994 and told them the plan was DOA in the Senate. A few months later, voters took out their wrath on Democrats. Democrats lost control of the House, and Democrats like House Speaker Tom Foley, Governor Mario Cuomo, and Governor Ann Richards were ejected from office.

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