Clinton Healthcare Initiative

Clinton Healthcare Initiative

The Clintons' healthcare initiative would have guaranteed every American access to medical insurance. The plan would have relied on regulated private insurance markets, where insurers would compete among each other to drive down costs. The government would offer Americans an array of private plans, of varying costs, once a year. The government would cover the entire costs of cheap plans, with people paying more out-of-pocket for more expensive options.    Businesses would have been required to contribute to employee insurance plans, although small businesses would have received generous subsidies.  The plan included regulations insuring that insurance companies could not discriminate against those with pre-existing conditions. A patient’s bill of rights and an expansion of Medicare to include prescription drug benefits (administered by the government in contrast to the far pricier Bush plan that was actually enacted).

Cry Wolf Quotes

[The Clinton health care initiative is] washed-over old-time bureaucratic liberalism, or centralized bureaucratic socialism.

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Republican minority whip Newt Gingrich’s (R-GA). New York Times.

Price controls have never worked, rather, in countries where such controls have been imposed, patients endure waits of months or years for surgery, are denied access to specialists, and face other obstacles to care. Any health care system predicated predominantly on cost containment will contain perverse incentives that will undermine quality and the physician's duty to act in the best interest of his or her patients.

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Lonnie R. Bristow, MD Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the American Medical Association.

“This plan forces us to buy our insurance through new mandatory government health alliances…” (Louise) “Run by tens of thousands of bureaucrats…” (Harry) “Having choices we don’t like is no choice at all…” (Louise) “They choose, we lose” (Together).

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Health Insurance Association of America’s (HIAA) 1993 “Harry and Louise” TV ads.

We have arrived at socialized medicine in America. I do not report this as either a good or bad event but simply as something that has happened with hardly anyone realizing it. This is the first result -- and probably the most important -- of the national health care debate launched last week by President Clinton. Our politics and economy will never again be the same.

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Robert J. Samuelson, Washington Post.