The health-care debate hasn’t changed in 20 years, new Clinton documents show


Presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama perceived many of the same messaging challenges facing their respective health reform efforts. (AP)

The Clinton Library on Friday released thousands of pages of new documents from the Clinton White House, including about 850 pages on its failed effort to pass health reform. The documents are especially interesting for how they seemingly parallel the debate around Obamacare.

The Clinton White House, in a 1993 memo, spells out perceived messaging attacks on the bill from conservative Democrats and moderate Republicans they had hoped to win over. These points should sound familiar (and we apologize for the White House's use of caps):

(William J. Clinton Presidential Library)
(William J. Clinton Presidential Library)

The White House also pointed out where it thought its messaging strategy was especially vulnerable. These points, too, should sound familiar.


(William J. Clinton Presidential Library)

There's also plenty of discussion in the documents about the sensitivity of the employer mandate, a main feature of the failed Clinton plan. Of course, the Affordable Care Act does include a mandate for businesses with at least 50 employees, but its implementation is as politically tough as ever. That provision has already been delayed twice.

My colleagues, who have a comprehensive look at the new documents, also point out that Clinton, before a 1994 interview, knew the public would worry about being able to keep their health plans. “A lot of them want to know they can keep their own plan if they like it," Clinton said.

Jason Millman covers all things health policy, with a focus on Obamacare implementation. He previously covered health policy for Politico.
Comments
Show Comments
Most Read Business
Next Story
Christopher Ingraham · April 18