|Source: James Miller Center- President William J. Clinton: 1994 speech to a joint session of Congress on health care reform.|
I'll give President Clinton a lot of credit for having the guts to take on health care reform, Welfare reform, crime, deficit reduction and free trade, all in his first two years as President. As well as Family Medical Leave and even gays in the military, before a lot of these issues were popular. He wasn't the first President to take on these issues, but perhaps the first to do them all around the same time. He could've easily of taken the safe route as President and gone with the status quo. Perhaps just concentrating on a few issues and cruised to reelection with an improving economy. But Bill Clinton was a Liberal Democrat and a Progressive and the status quo didn't impress him very much. And he also had a Democratic Congress to work with. So I'm guessing he was thinking this might be his best shot to accomplish what he wanted to reform. And if you look at his batting average as far as what he wanted to accomplish in his first two years as President, he got a lot done.
As far what President Clinton tried to push through Congress and what he got out of Congress, it's a pretty good record as far as modern times as well as historically. It's just health care reform and Welfare reform, that he was unsuccessful in pushing through Congress in his first two years which was a mammoth failure. And one of the main reasons why Democrats lost control of both chambers of Congress in the 1994 mid-terms. Bill Clinton even wanted to work with the Republican minority in Congress in both Chambers. But other than trade, the Republican Leadership made sure that never happened. Why did health care Reform fail in 1994, well several reasons. I'll give President Clinton credit for having the political guts to at least write a health care reform plan and sending it to Congress, unlike President Obama. I believe President Clinton had a very good idea what he wanted to do in health care reform.
I believe President Clinton's ideas was to have a system thats built on freedom of choice in health care, where all Americans would decide for themselves where they would get their health insurance and health care through the private sector and help the people who can't afford health insurance on their own, purchase health insurance. As well as small business's who want to provide health insurance to their employees, but can't afford to pay for it. As well as having a Patients Bill of Rights in his legislation. If you look at what President Clinton attempted to pass and what President Obama finally got out of Congress in 2010 the Affordable Care Act, it's very similar. Just that 111th Democratic Congress as well as President Obama understood the mistakes of President Clinton and the 103rd Democratic Congress. Because a lot of them served in both Congress's and new not to repeat them. As much as Congressional Republicans claimed the Clinton health care plan was Canadian or British style "socialized medicine".
Where the Federal Government would take over at least health insurance in America if not health care in general. As brilliantly as they communicated that with their communication and advertising and their members expressing that in committee, or on the House and Senate floors, it wasn't. It was a brilliant con job on the GOP part, that they took to winning control on Congress in 1994. Also as sound as President Clinton's plan was in the beginning, he made it more complicated than it had to be. Thinking that he needed to please as many people as possible to get a health care bill out of Congress and made the bill so big at the end, that no one understood it. I'll give President and the 103rd Democratic Congress a lot of credit for what they set out to accomplish and did accomplish in 1993-94. But they failed to communicate it to the American people and paid a heavy price for that. That as a party were still paying for today, because the Republican Party won the communications war. And Democrats are still dealing with those stereotypes today. Of tax and spend and socialized medicine today.