Does Hillary “Care”?

October has run into November. The election is only days away now (three).  Hillary and Donald Trump are in a dead heat.  A month or so ago, the Democrats thought they had the presidential election signed, sealed and delivered.

 

But then came an “October Surprise” of their own making – the 110 percent or more increase in the rise of Obamacare premiums across the country. There was nowhere for the Democrats to hide from this implosion of their own design.

 

This renunciation of universal health care seems to have come as a surprise to the Democrats. Where were they skulking when senior citizens, particularly, held Town Hall meetings in the late summer of 2008, protesting the imminent implementation of what came to be known as “Obamacare” or more formally, the Affordable Healthcare Act?

 

Weren’t the seniors and the Tea Party yelling loud enough for them? And when Nancy Pelosi strode up Capitol Hill, her battering-ram gavel in hand in 2010, the Tea Party held a rally right there in Washington, D.C., did they really think Americans weren’t furious?  That the Tea Party movement was just a group of tin-foil, malcontent soldiers of Hillary’s “vast right-wing conspiracy” (a coin she termed to describe the army of women who came forward to denounce her husband as a rapist)?

 

Did they learn nothing from Hillary’s history?

 

According to the book, The Truth About Hillary: What She knew, When She Knew It, and How Far She’ll Go to Become President, by Edward Klein (Penguin Group/Sentinel Books, 2005)

 

“In 1993, just days after he was inaugurated, President Bill Clinton launched his new administration’s major domestic program – health-care reform – and appointed his wife to the head the task force. With typical arrogance, Hillary proceeded to hold secret meetings, keeping powerful figures in Congress in the dark, and create a comically complex and hugely expensive plan that came to be known as ‘Hillarycare.”  As a result, the program was killed, the Republicans won both Houses of Congress in the next mid-term election, and Hillary was politically discredited for the next four years.”

 

Hillary was hugely disappointed to learn that President Clinton could not appoint her to his cabinet nor even as his chief of staff due to nepotism laws. But she wanted payback for “standing by her man” during the Gennifer Flowers fiasco.  She wanted power and she was determined to grab it, one way or another, even if it meant heading a secret task force.

 

During the 1992 campaign, Bill Clinton courted feminist voters, according to Joyce Milton’s Hillary biography, The First Partner – Hillary Rodham Clinton (HarperCollins Publishers/Perennial Press, 1999):

 

“In New Hampshire, Bill Clinton used the tag line, ‘Vote for one, get two,” and he continued to return to this theme in the early months of the campaign, predicting that he and Hillary in the White House ‘would be an unprecedented partnership, far more than Franklin Roosevelt and Eleanor.’”

 

“Unprecedented” was the very word for it. And illegal.

 

“When asked if he would appoint his wife to a cabinet post,” Klein continues, “Clinton said, ‘I wouldn’t rule it out.’ (Could it be that the Clintons were unaware of the anti-nepotism law, passed after Jack Kennedy named his brother, Bobby, attorney general?  The law made it illegal for the president to name his wife [or any other relative] to his cabinet.”

 

Later in the book, Klein writes about how closed the self-professed “Moderate” Democrat they’d just elected was contemplating a “dramatic increase in federal control over the nation’s schools and workplaces.”

 

“In short..the Clintons were caught in a squeeze between their activist allies, whose expectations for bold action would be difficult to satisfy, and other segments of the Democrat Party, who had supported them in the belief that Clinton would build on the party’s appeal to Moderates.

 

“Bill Clinton’s problem was especially acute because the first constituency he had to satisfy was his wife. The Clintons had never resolved between themselves what Hillary’s role [beyond First Lady – way beyond] would be in the new administration.  Since learning she was barred by the anti-nepotism law from a cabinet post, Hillary had begun to think in terms of serving as her husband’s chief of staff.  Dick Morris was among those who did their best to explain to Hillary why this wouldn’t work:  a president had to be able to fire his chief of staff if the occasion arose, and it was difficult to imagine the First Lady being fired.

 

“Hillary’s next suggestion was that she might serve as chief domestic policy adviser. Although this was a relatively low-profile position, George Stephanopoulos and other key Clinton aides dreaded the prospect of the positive press coverage traditionally accorded to a new presidency being sacrificed to a national debate over Hillary’s job title.”

 

His aides came to that debate too late: we, the public, were furious.  Those of us who were around at the time, long past weaned from our pacifiers and working for a living, were livid at the suggestion that the nominal First Lady would hold anything other than a ceremonial position in the White House, especially a First Lady who had posed as the cover girl for Hippiedom on the cover of Life magazine in 1969, and who was rumored to an even greater “inhaler” than her husband.

 

We also perfectly comprehended the invasion of our privacy that her intended universal health care proposal would incur, as well as the enormous costs in terms of premiums, choices, taxes, and regulations that UHC would bring.

 

She was immediately termed “arrogant” by the general public. Her health care proposal went down in flames and she returned dutifully to decorate the pornographic Blue Room Christmas Tree.

 

Klein writes, “There were also likely to be practical consequences. Hillary’s ties were to the activist community, and she tended to share their enthusiasm for bold, comprehensive [government] programs.  Bill Clinton may have been intrigued by the ideas Hillary advocated, but he was more realistic about what could be accomplished in one year, or even in four.”

 

Author and presidential speechwriter Peggy Noonan, in her book, The Case Against Hillary Clinton (HarperCollins Publishers/Regan Books, 2000):

 

“…command-and-control thinking…fatally shaped the Clinton health care plan, which was conceived, and led, of course, by Hillary Clinton. It determined how that effort was carried out – in secret, and how it would end – in failure.

 

“From beginning to end, the health care plan was a perfect bureaucratic expression of Mrs. Clinton’s leadership style, and New Yorkers [and now, Americans] might want to revisit the story before they choose her as their leader.

 

“Throughout the 1992 presidential campaign, both Clintons promised that if they won the White House, they would reform the American health care system. The promise was a standard part of Bill Clinton’s stump speech, and was often mentioned by Mrs. Clinton in speeches and interviews.

 

“In an admiring profile in the Washington Post on Oct. 30, 1992, reporter Donnie Radcliffe wrote, ‘Unlike traditional political wives of the past [Hillary – Noonan’s brackets] has no misgivings about talking issues.  She has never stopped being one of her husband’s key advisors and when she wants to, she speaks with authority.  She also intends to have her own issues.’

 

“She quoted Mrs. Clinton as saying she was ‘particularly adamant’ that health care should be the highest priority. A week before, Bill Clinton had been on the stump in New Jersey, saying health care should be a ‘major, major, major factor’ [imagine that – Bill Clinton was repetitive] in the election.  He promised a drastic overhaul of the system, including universal coverage for all and lower insurance rates.

 

“A few days after his first inauguration, he made good on his promise. President Clinton announced the creation of the President’s Task Force on National Health Care Reform, and appointed Hillary to head it.  ‘I am certain that in the coming months,’ he said, ‘the American people will learn, as the people of Arkansas did, just what a great First Lady they have.’

 

“Hillary’s appointment aroused the predictable concerns: In heading and directing an important government program she was taking on an extra-constitutional role, and there was no precedent.  As a practical matter, her leadership was problematic.  If it didn’t work, she couldn’t be fired, and in fact none of the usual penalties for failure could be applied.

 

“Her relationship with the president might cause complications in negotiations with Congress, and members of her own party might be inhibited if they wanted to support the president and his program but also wanted to complain that the Task Force chairwoman was making bad decisions.

 

“Nevertheless, Mrs. Clinton proceeded as if she had been elected, and since the Clintons had run as ‘two for the price of one,’ they could claim, and did, that the American people implicitly supported her role.

 

“When the president announced the Task Force, he said it would do its work in a way that was ‘as inclusive as possible.’ In retrospect, it may be signify cant that his only specific suggestion on public involvement was that citizens write Mrs. Clinton and the White House and giver her their ideas.

 

“Certainly, the Task Force had its work cut out for it. By 1993, health care spending made up close to 14 percent of the federal budget, and absorbed 14 percent of the gross national product – more than in any other country in the world.  Within a few years, it was projected to absorb an astounding 19 percent of the U.S. economy.  And health care costs were continuing to rise, growing (as they said since the 1960s) faster than inflation.

 

“But the American health care system isn’t only expensive; it’s huge and complex. In 1994, it employed almost 11 million people, from nurses to doctors to dentists and druggists and technicians and support staff.  There 630,000 doctors alone, 5,600 acute-care hospitals, and almost a million hospital beds.  The system included every public, not-for-profit, and for-profit hospital in the country, and all the drug companies, insurance companies, makers of hospital equipment, and research and educational institutions.

 

“And it all cost a trillion dollars a year. Government paid for 44 percent of it, insurance and managed care companies about 33 percent, and direct payment by the person treated accounted for 23 percent.

 

“The system was complex, a real behemoth, and the first trick in ‘treating’ it was to follow the wise, old recommendation of Hippocrates, whose primary advice to new doctors was “First, do no harm.

 

“Unfortunately, Hippocrates wasn’t in on the working groups.

 

“The First Lady put presidential adviser and long-time Clinton friend Ira Magaziner, esteemed by the Clintons as a management whiz, in charge of supervising the Task Force. He created a brain trust of hundreds of experts and specialists. Eventually, there were six hundred [600] people in thirty-eight [38] subgroups and working groups and soon chaos and confusion reigned.

 

“So did secrecy. Task Force meetings were closed to the public and the media.  This aroused anxiety among those would be most affected by the Task Forces’ work, and the anxiety aroused antagonism.  The Association of American Physicians and Surgeons went to court to open the meetings up.  A federal judge ruled that Task Force working groups that were gathering data and formulating proposals had to follow legal requirements and stop meeting in private.  In a key moment, the White House appealed.  They wanted to meet in secret, away from the press and the people.  This was a warning bell for potential critics.  Soon Republicans in Congress found that they couldn’t even get a list of the names and organizations of Task Force participants; the White House stonewalled each request for information, and Congress had to go through the General Accounting Office to get information.

 

“Democrat congressional staffers had been asked to take part in the working groups, but Republican staffers were kept out, which was a matter of concern to them, and which aroused even more resentment [and suspicion?].  This was not at all ‘inclusive,’ they said.

 

“Soon, the federal judge who had ruled on the working groups was threatening to hold the administration in contempt of court unless it started to produce documents, payroll records, meeting agendas and notes. He sharply accused the White House of giving only ‘dribbles and drabs of information at its convenience.’  (In the end, he ordered Hillary Clinton and others to pay the legal fees of those who had brought suit.)

 

Noonan goes on to write, “Deadlines slipped, chaos reigned. Mrs. Clinton was out on the road, selling the public on a plan that did not yet exist, and back in Washington, the brain trust was meeting, talking, trading data, and advancing options.  Groups with a large and direct stake in reform were not represented but were sometimes briefed.  Bureaucrats with agendas were running the show.

 

“By autumn of 1993, the main outlines of the plan were in place. Officials began showing pieces of it to Congress.  Soon, secret copies were making their way to the press.

 

“Now the arguing changed from process to content.

 

“The final plan was 1,342 pages long.” Please hold your laughter, readers.  Remember, that was 1993; our computers were smaller and our printers were much slower then.

 

“And what a plan it was.

 

“Americans would have to choose among unfamiliar new ‘purchasing cooperatives’ and ‘health alliances,’ and accept new limits on their freedom to choose doctors and hospitals; ‘gatekeepers’ would determine who gets to see a specialist, and who the specialist might be. All employers – even small employers, local shop owners who employed a dozen people – would have to pay 80 percent of the cost of premiums for workers and their families.

 

“Questions and complaints were immediate.  They were answered with details that [only] heightened anxiety.  When critics predicted long lines at HMOs, the rationing of health care, and second-rate service, the White House explained that that [wouldn’t] happen – we’ll have doctors and HMOs concentrate on yearly performance reviews so we can monitor everything.

 

“People thought: Oh give doctors and nurses more paperwork; that will make things better.

 

“There was something for everyone to fear and resent.

 

“It was soon clear that the plan was impossibly complex, hopelessly bureaucratic, and promised less accountability and higher costs down the road. It was marked from beginning to end by the presence of the heavy hand of government – and this in the 1990s, when a broad consensus had emerged that government is usually note capable of running programs fairly, economically, and with expertise.

 

“The proposal managed to alienate almost every potential supporter. Big corporations that had started out as enthusiastic backers – their employee health care programs were extremely costly, and they would have been happy to see government take up the burden – were put off by the new regulations.  Insurance companies rebelled at budget caps.  Small businesses said the requirement that they pay for health insurance would bankrupt them or force them to cut jobs.  Doctors who had been for universal coverage were angered by their loss of autonomy in the plan.  And deep in the proposal, hospitals found what appeared to be a plan to limit the number of medical specialists in order to limit the number of medical specialists’ bills.  That would be death for teaching hospitals.

 

“The plan was, finally, politically tin-eared from beginning to end. The big federal subsidies that would be required to create universal coverage and add new benefits would come, the administration explained, from big new taxes on alcohol and cigarettes, and big cuts in Medicaid.  Democrats and Republicans in Congress said:  no way.

 

“And it was completely predictable that they would say this. But then, Congress had been consulted much in the creation of the plan [because] they might leak it.  They might oppose it.  They might apply old paradigm thinking.  They might not understand it.

 

“Until they saw the plan, the Clinton’s allies in Congress had been able to maintain public support. But when it was submitted to Congress on Oct. 27, 1993, support quickly fell apart.  The administration failed to explain the bill or create coalitions and compromise.

 

Even ‘[S]talwart Democrats, like California’s Congressman Henry Waxman, said that the administration, in trying to sell the plan seemed only to be relying on poll-tested jargon.

 

“’They introduced this very complex piece of legislation and then decided all they would say were phrases that had been market-tested like ‘health care security.’ The result, Waxman said, was that people began to think the administration was treating them ‘in a superficial way,’ as if they [the Task Force] had ‘something to hide.

 

“None of this was helped by word of some of Mrs. Clinton’s reactions when pressed on the concerns of those whose businesses might be damaged by the plan. In her most famous comment, she said, ‘I can’t worry about every under-capitalized third-party payer.’”

 

“We have to pass the bill so that you can find out what is in it – away from the fog of controversy.”

 

“If you want to keep your doctor, you’ll get to keep your doctor.”

 

“I can’t worry about every under-capitalized third-party payer.”

 

These are the unhealthy attitudes of bureaucrats who once tried to foist HillaryCare off on us, and succeeded in throwing us down the cliff of ObamaCare. Back in 1993, we were smart enough to fight off universal health care.  In 2010, we fought back, but we were under the yoke of a tyrannical president who didn’t care and Democrat operatives who apparently simply dusted off the old health care plan and added another thousand pages or so.

 

ObamaCare is the critical issue that could – and undoubtedly will – decide next Tuesday’s election. So it’s worth looking at ObamaCare’s predecessor and the woman who supervised the Task Force – in secret meetings – wants to be our next Dictator-in-Chief.

 

 

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Published in: on November 5, 2016 at 5:16 pm  Leave a Comment  

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