THE PLANK JULY 26, 2009
Also on "Meet the Press," David Gregory asked whether she and Obama discuss his health care reform push. "We talk about everything," was her seemingly implicit confirmation.
And it's clear, once she starts talking about the details, that being at Foggy Bottom hasn't fully distracted her from what it's probably fair to call the central cause of her adult life:
I think he's making a very
strong case. And what's important here is that people are always for
change in general, and then they begin to worry about the particulars.
As our process moves forward--we have legislation in both Houses.
We've had the committee I use to serve on, the Health, Education, Labor
and Pension, so-called HELP Committee, pass out a comprehensive bill.
We're seeing action in the House. Then people will begin to see the
particulars and the legislative process will begin to try to, you know,
smooth out the rough edges and create the reassurances that people
need. But what is so promising for me is that when I wrote that about
our experience in the early '90s, there were still a lot of routes that
people thought we could go down; "Well, we'll try managed care. We'll
get more HMOs. We'll be able to control costs for the people who have
insurance." I'm talking now not about those who are uninsured, which I think is both a
moral and an economic imperative, but the people without it--with it
and who are wondering, "What's this going to mean for me?" I think
people now realize, you know, "I could be uninsured." The, the chances
that businesses will continue to pay for insurance over the next five,
10, 15 years are diminishing. I think, if I remember correctly, in '93
and '94, 61 percent of small businesses provided some kind of health
insurance for their employees. It's down to 38 percent. So now
everybody's worrying. And I think that gives the president a very
strong case to make.
A fun counterfactual: What if Obama hadn't sent Hillary to State, and she were helping to lead the health care charge in the Senate today. Would Obama be any better off? Republicans would have an easier time with attacks on "HillaryCare 2.0," no doubt. But Obama would have had one more enormously determined, and probably effective, ally up on Capitol Hill...