More From "meet": Hillary On Health Care

by | 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...

--Michael Crowley

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