Gingrich, Clinton Collaborate on Health Care Bill

Associated Press
Thursday, May 12, 2005

Longtime political foes Newt Gingrich and Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) cheerfully joined forces yesterday to promote legislation on health care changes, joking that some might view it as a sign of a soon-to-come doomsday.

Clinton and Gingrich, the Republican former House speaker, appeared outside the Capitol to promote a bill that would modernize medical record-keeping.

The senator joked that their joint effort has raised plenty of eyebrows since they began working together behind closed doors on a panel examining ways to improve military effectiveness.

"At our first meeting, when we were agreeing so much with each other, I think people thought 'the end is near,' " she said.

As first lady, Clinton spearheaded a White House health care reform effort that failed in Congress. The resistance to her initiative helped fuel Gingrich's "Contract With America" and his rise to the position of speaker in 1995.

A decade later, they sound downright chummy.

"I find he and I have a lot in common in the way we see the problems that we're going to have to deal with in order to have a 21st-century health care system," Clinton said.

Gingrich was equally effusive, saying he was "thrilled" to be part of the bipartisan effort to reduce the paperwork the health care industry creates. "I'm confident there are things like votes in the Senate and judges where there would be dramatic differences, but I think we're both mature enough as adults that we can separate this argument," he said.

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