Clinton hopes for success where his effort failed

November 10, 2009

Former President Bill Clinton is clearly hoping that Congress succeeds this time around where his administration failed 15 years ago.

clintonAnd perfection is not required — just get healthcare reform done. That was Clinton’s message to Senate Democrats who are now behind the steering wheel in trying to move legislation forward.

Clinton’s own effort to overhaul the healthcare system in 1994 fizzled long before reaching this far — the House of Representatives approved its version of a bill last weekend.

Clinton told Democratic senators at their weekly lunch that healthcare reform was an economic imperative and they should not let this latest opportunity slip away.

“It is not important to be perfect here, it is important to get it passed,” Clinton told reporters after the meeting.  “The worst thing to do is nothing — that was my message today.”

President Barack Obama wants healthcare legislation passed by the end of this year. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is hoping the Senate can do that, but time is running short as he awaits an official cost estimate from the Congressional Budget Office.

Reid faces a tough task of stitching together one bill from separate bills passed by two Senate committees that will garner the 60 votes needed to move it in the 100-member chamber.

Senators said the pep talk by Clinton helped.

“People trust him,” said Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus, who is playing a major role in writing the Senate bill. “He has excellent political and policy judgments and he believes it is far better to pass healthcare legislation than not.”

“He’s the former president of the United States he’s got a lot of sway, he’s a big man.” Baucus said.

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Photo credit: Reuters/Las Vegas Sun/Steve Marcus (Former President Clinton and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid in August 2009)


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The motivation for president Clintons intervention was primarily to emphasize the importance that the democrats needed to pass a bill to protect their political creditability. Yes national free health care has been a 50 year ambition for the democrats but for now the prime importance is a head down charge to get a result to rescue Obama who needs a result to shore up his faltering presidency.Yes he still has personal popularity,but his policies lag far behind the perception of his persona.

Posted by brian lee | Report as abusive

It’s a shame that we can’t have affordable healthcare and the rest of the industrialized world can. What is wrong with our political system.

Posted by Craig | Report as abusive

“It’s a shame that we can’t have affordable healthcare and the rest of the industrialized world can. What is wrong with our political system.”

It is a shame that we are one of the only true free nations. It is a shame that we have created more disbursed wealth in this world than any other nation. It is a shame that we have created more new inventions than any other nation in the last 200 years. It is a shame that All other nations LOOK UP TO US – either for acceptance or support. It is a shame what our nation is. If you are so ashamed, move out of this nation and leave us alone.

Posted by Greg C | Report as abusive

Well said Greg C. People forget we have helped save the world from tyranny. Now the bunch in power want to take it all away from us.

Posted by TC | Report as abusive

Oh sure trust Clinton he has such high moral standards.

Posted by domino | Report as abusive