Hillary Clinton Promises to Focus on Health Care
Despite Sen.-elect Hillary Rodham Clinton's (D-N.Y.) "troubled history" with health care reform, she said yesterday that she would keep her election promise to "plug away at the issue," the AP/Baltimore Sun reports. "Health care is still one of my priority concerns. I think it has to be," she said. In 1993 and 1994, Clinton spearheaded an "unsuccessful effort ... to overhaul the nation's health care financing system" that detractors compared to "socialized medicine." Clinton now says that she learned from the "disastrous reception" her plan received, adding that she will pursue reform in a "step-by-step way." She said, "It's doubtful that in an evenly divided Senate, for example, that you could come up with any kind of plan that would improve access, affordability and quality without there being a lot of bipartisan support. And I'd like to build on what's worked" (AP/Baltimore Sun, 12/7). Clinton said that restoring cuts that resulted from 1997's Balanced Budget Act would be among "her first priorities,"
Newsday reports. In particular, she is "concerned" about whether the restored money would go to hospitals or be "disproportionately diverted to HMOs that are in many ways leaving New Yorkers without coverage" (Povich, Newsday, 12/7). Other issues Clinton might address include expanding the CHIP program and allowing self-employed individuals to deduct part of the cost of health insurance from their taxes. During her campaign, Clinton called for reimportation of cheaper prescription drugs from Canada, as well as a patients' bill of rights that would give individuals the right to sue their HMOs for denial of care (AP/Baltimore Sun, 12/7).