Sunday, March 16, 2008

Clinton's Child-Health Hype

By Robert Parry
March 17, 2008

A centerpiece of Hillary Clinton’s case for her candidacy – that she rebounded from the disaster of her health-care plan in 1994 to help enact a popular state-by-state program for children’s health insurance three years later – looks to be largely a fabrication.

At most, Clinton appears to have been a quiet supporter within her husband’s White House for the so-called S-CHIP program, which was fashioned through bipartisan compromise in the U.S. Senate against initial Clinton administration opposition.

Read on.

6 comments:

Tommy said...

Oh I hope Obama's coattails are still long enough, inspite of Hillary's dishonesty and sniping. The recent election in Chicago seems to indicate they may still be.

UNCLE ERNIE said...

So Barry the rich white kid from Hawaii is the answer? The same Barry that abandoned his minister for telling the absolute truth about America. The Harvard educated lawyer, that in itself should be sounding warning sirens and flashing lights, danger, danger, danger. The same Barry that voted 96% the very same way that Hillary did. The same Barry that will continue the war and who knows may invade Pakistan? This is who you back for dictator? Is it Alzheimer's or a brain aneurysm that's effecting your judgement Robert? As a fan of yours for the last 20 years I came to expect more than this from you. Don't get me wrong as a leftist I'll be sitting out this election as we have no candidates. Barry, Hillary and Johnny are all fascists. All corpo-rat owned lackeys and if you can't see that it's time to retire. Perhaps it's time to move to Sussex and keep bees?

Your radicalt pal,
Ernest

Uncle Ernie said...

So Barry the rich white kid from Hawaii is the answer? The same Barry that abandoned his minister for telling the absolute truth about America. A Harvard educated lawyer, that in itself should be sounding warning sirens and flashing lights, danger, danger, danger. The same Barry that has voted 96% the very same way that Hillary did. The same Barry that will continue the war and who knows may invade Pakistan? This is who you back for dictator? Is it Alzheimer's or a brain aneurysm that's effecting your judgement Robert? As a fan of yours for over 20 years I came to expect more than this from you. Don't get me wrong, as a leftist I'll be sitting out this election as we have no candidates. Barry, Hillary and Johnny are all fascists. All corpo-rat owned lackeys and if you can't see that, then it's time to retire. Perhaps it's time to move to Sussex and keep bees?

Your radicalt pal,
Ernest

Uncle Ernie said...

So Barry the rich white kid from Hawaii is the answer? The same Barry that abandoned his minister for telling the absolute truth about America. A Harvard educated lawyer, that in itself should be sounding warning sirens and flashing lights, danger, danger, danger. The same Barry that has voted 96% the very same way that Hillary did. The same Barry that will continue the war and who knows may invade Pakistan? This is who you back for dictator? Is it Alzheimer's or a brain aneurysm that's effecting your judgement Robert? As a fan of yours for over 20 years I came to expect more than this from you. Don't get me wrong, as a leftist I'll be sitting out this election as we have no candidates. Barry, Hillary and Johnny are all fascists. All corpo-rat owned lackeys and if you can't see that, then it's time to retire. Perhaps it's time to move to Sussex and keep bees?

Your radicalt pal,
Ernest

Truthseeker said...

As a part of the fallout from the failed 1993 Clinton health care plan, both Democratic Senator Ted Kennedy and the Clinton administration were looking for smaller health care initiatives that could gain bipartisan support.

Kennedy was intrigued by a children's health insurance plan in Massachusetts that had passed in 1996, and met with a Boston Medical Center pediatrics director and a Massachusetts state legislator to discuss the feasibility of a national initiative. Kennedy also saw using an increase in tobacco taxes as a way to pay for the expanded coverage.

Meanwhile, in December 1996 First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton examined several possible such initiatives and decided expanding health care insurance to children who had none was the one to advance. (Indeed, a different variant of this approach, dubbed "Kids First", had been envisioned as a backup plan during original 1993 Task Force on National Health Care Reform meetings, as a way of gradually implementing universal health care.)

The new initiative was proposed at Bill Clinton's January 1997 State of the Union address, with the stated goal of coverage up to five million children. Kennedy wrote much of the original bill, using the increase in tobacco taxes to pay the $20 billion price tag.

In March 1997, Kennedy brought Republican Senator Orrin Hatch onto the legislation as co-sponsor; Kennedy and Hatch had worked together as an "odd couple" in the Senate before, and here Hatch said that "Children are being terribly hurt and perhaps scarred for the rest of their lives" and that "as a nation, as a society, we have a moral responsibility" to provide coverage. Hatch's role would infuriate some Republican colleagues and conservative commentators.

An initial objection of Republicans in the Senate was that raising the federal tax on cigarettes, from 24 cents a pack to 67 cents a pack, would result in less smoking and less revenues from the tax to states.

Kennedy and Hatch scoffed at the objection, with the former saying, "If we can keep people healthy and stop them from dying, I think most Americans would say 'Amen; isn't that a great result?' If fewer people smoke, states will save far more in lower health costs than they will lose in revenues from the cigarette tax." Republicans also criticized the bill as an open-ended entitlement program, although it was structured as a block grant rather than an entitlement; Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott was an early opponent of the measure, calling it a "big-government program" that would not pass.

Then the bill had to comply with the existing balanced budget agreement between Congress and the White House, something that Lott said it did not. Pressure was on to reduce the amount of grants involved, with $16 billion a possible compromise; Hillary Clinton instead argued for $24 billion. The Clinton administration had a deal with the Republican leadership in Congress that forbade the administration from backing any amendments to the budget resolution. Thus, Bill Clinton phoned members of Congress and asked that they kill the children's health insurance provision when it came to the floor. Hillary Clinton defended her husband's action at the time, saying "He had to safeguard the overall budget proposal," but Kennedy was surprised and angered by it.

Later in 1997, both Bill and Hillary Clinton argued for including the children's health insurance in subsequent legislation. The bill was indeed revived, with organizations from the Children's Defense Fund to the Girl Scouts of the USA lobbying for its passage, and with Hillary Clinton further pushing for it. It was then passed and signed into law by Bill Clinton on August 5, 1997 as part of the Balanced Budget Act of 1997, to take effect the following month.

Anonymous said...

You left out that Kennedy thanked and credited H. Clinton for helping to push S-CHIP through at the time of passage and since, and that at the time Republicans blamed the passage of that legislation and the $24 billion price tag on her.