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Bill Clinton urges passage of health-reform bill, warning failure would be 'a colossal blunder'

By Garance Franke-Ruta
Former president Bill Clinton waded in the debate on the health-care reform bill Thursday, urging support for its passage and warning "America can't afford to let the perfect be the enemy of the good."

"This is a good bill," he wrote in a statement released by the William J. Clinton Foundation. "It increases the security of those who already have insurance and gives every American access to affordable coverage; and contains comprehensive efforts to control costs and improve quality, with more information on best practices, and comparative costs and results. The bill will shift the power away from the insurance companies and into the hands of consumers."

And he urged that those wavering in their support of it seize the mantle of history and act to insure its passage, despite their misgivings. "Our only responsible choice is the path of action. Does this bill read exactly how I would write it? No. Does it contain everything everyone wants? Of course not. But America can't afford to let the perfect be the enemy of the good," he wrote.

"Take it from someone who knows: these chances don't come around every day. Allowing this effort to fall short now would be a colossal blunder -- both politically for our party and, far more important, for the physical, fiscal, and economic health of our country."

By Web Politics Editor  |  December 17, 2009; 3:36 PM ET
Categories:  44 The Obama Presidency  
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Comments

Keith Olbermann isn't your brain. It's your brain on some self-serving idiot's propaganda.

I'm starting to think too many on the far left don't care about making progress, doing good, or making desperately needed changes possible - you just want to be RIGHT, all the way down the crap hole.

I've spent most of my life following politics, and this "moral" position, is actually just plain immoral. You expect people who could be helped to continue to suffer because you can't have a perfect Utopian world. Utopia DOES NOT EXIST!

Posted by: TeriB | December 18, 2009 12:34 PM | Report abuse

If the dems cared about health insurance, they could have give quality care too all with the money they have blown on nonsense!

Posted by: boski66 | December 18, 2009 11:37 AM | Report abuse

Another thing folks, why do you believe that the Government can run Health Care smoothly? Another thing, I have seen enough and heard enough of this President to last a lifetime. He don't lie often - only when he opens his mouth. You liberals should be ashamed of yourselves for letting this happen. We are going downhill at record speeds. 12 trilliondollars in debt. You would be storming the White House if George Bush had done what this Muslim from Chicago and Africa is doing. Who do you think he is?
Why do you think he is so smart he can take over auto companies, banks, and bypass Congress with Czars. Why do you think it is o.k. for a President to tell a company what they can or cannot pay a CEO?
I don't care if 100% of the population think the pay of CEOs is outrageous - it is between the Boards of those Companies and the CEO, not the President of the U.S.
no matter who he be. If the populus thinks it is o.k. for the President to have all of this power then instead of passing a Reform Bill why don't the President just tell Pharmaceutical Companies what they can charge, tell Doctor's what they can charge, tell drug Stores what they can charge, tell everybody in this country what they can earn and how much taxes they have to pay.
Why go through the charade? Power, power, power, that is what this street hoodlum is after and you Liberals are responsible. If you think this guy is on the up and up just watch what he will do in 2010. I am appalled at what he has done so far.
If it weren't for Bernake our stock market would be telling you that all is NOT WELL. But, because of Bernake and Geithner
we will get another recession and it will hit us like rocket force in 2011. Keep you eye on the ball folks, and that means the White House.
RTK

Posted by: tyler02 | December 18, 2009 11:02 AM | Report abuse

What most of you DO NOT UNDERSTAND IS
1. There is no written Health Care Reform bill on paper to be read by those voting for it.
2. No written bill - WE the PEOPLE do not know what is in it.
3. This bill is a political football - and the advantage goes to the team who is dominating politics right now - if I mention The Democratic Party would you agree that they are in charge of everything right now?
4. If everyone concerned do not know what is in the bill, then why are the Republicans the villians for attempting to block it until it is read aloud? What is the hurry? If you Liberals say it should be passed do you know that it won't be effective until 2013? And do you know why this is? It is after Obama runs for reelection in 2012.
5. So why are they pushing this bill down our throats unseen?
6. If you are all so smart - answer that?
RTK

Posted by: tyler02 | December 18, 2009 10:37 AM | Report abuse

He would have to believe in miracles to imagine that he could influence us to want passage of this wreckage of our Bill of Rights and Our Constitution. We unlike Clinton love our privacy of our personal lives and our property. This so-called health care proposal is no more than a power grab. Yet Clinton is still singing his favorite song I believe in miracles, Trust me this proposal is No Sexy Thing!

Posted by: boski66 | December 18, 2009 9:39 AM | Report abuse

The "Zipper Slipper" would know a colossal blunder when he sees one. Been there done that!

Posted by: TexRancher | December 18, 2009 7:02 AM | Report abuse

Does Bill Clinton now approve of disenfranchisment of over half of this country's citizens? How can he or anyone stand still for our rights being trampled by a few people dictating how our lives will be lived for the rest of our lives? I always thought Bill Clinton was semi-fair in his thought process, I guess that is only if the subject matter is something he wants.

Posted by: prossers7 | December 18, 2009 5:09 AM | Report abuse

"About twenty or so million people would still not have health insurance coverage in ten years if either the House or Senate bill passes. Coverage would not be affordable for millions of middle class people required to purchase health care insurance. Out of pocket expenses will go up for people receiving Medicare.

Posted by: Aprogressiveindependent December 17, 2009 11:01 PM "

NOT with a STRONG (over 100 Million risk pool, Immediate, Medicare rates) Public Option !

Alter the Bill to that, in Conference, and go NUKE with it in the Senate!

(Tax the rich - Ike's 92% TMR- AND bring the boys home, to pay for it.)

Posted by: WKCg | December 17, 2009 11:48 PM | Report abuse

"What I don't understand is why Senate Democrats won't threaten the use of the "Nuclear Option" (not reconciliation) for breaking the threat of a fillibuster? If the Republicans think holding up the health care bill is worth losing the right to hold up any bill, let them slit their own throats.

So put the Medicare buy-in back in the bill, threaten to invoke the "Nuclear Option" and pass this thing with 51 votes!

Posted by: knedd | December 17, 2009 7:26 PM |"


EXACTLY !
(so few know what the "Nuclear Option" really is... look it up.)

Posted by: WKCg | December 17, 2009 11:44 PM | Report abuse

Clinton said the bill "gives every American access to affordable coverage." He must be living on a different planet.

About twenty or so million people would still not have health insurance coverage in ten years if either the House or Senate bill passes. Coverage would not be affordable for millions of middle class people required to purchase health care insurance. Out of pocket expenses will go up for people receiving Medicare.

Posted by: Aprogressiveindependent | December 17, 2009 11:01 PM | Report abuse

Oh yes, the selfless Bill Clinton cares only about the party and the people. Yeah, right. He knows this bill would be a disaster for Obama and probably ensure him as a one-termer. A super majority of the country is strongly opposed, for good reason -- and Bill knows that. The only way Hillary can mount a primary challenge in 2012 is if Obama is sufficiently weakened and disliked. Hence this very smooth effort by Bill to sound like he's giving sage advice to his party, when he's really setting Obama up for failure. He still has a big score to settle with Obama from the primary. And when Bill Clinton slips the knife in, you don't feel it.

Posted by: richardhdana | December 17, 2009 9:49 PM | Report abuse

Currently, 4 groups of Americans have health insurance.

The idle rich, who buy it out of pocket, along with near-rich small businesspeople

Those with jobs whose employers offer it

Those who have reached the age at which medicare kicks in

And those who are dependent on the dole and receive Medicaid.

1 group is left out: Americans who work for a living at low wages for employers who do not provide health insurance.

If you favored giving AIG $150 *billion* in tax dollars to bail them out from bad business decisions, and can't see the injustice in our present health care system, you must be eating too many donuts and not enough brain food.

With the Dem senate majority at 60, every puffed-ego Senator wants to risk this package, hold it hostage to his or her pet project. 40 some million uninsured Americans, most of them working at least 40 hours per week, are their hostages.

Posted by: douglaslbarber | December 17, 2009 9:10 PM | Report abuse

Mr. Obama should take lessons from the Clintons. They've been down that road before. They know the "pitfalls", and the "potholes" that the republicans have created.

Posted by: Sckool | December 17, 2009 8:31 PM | Report abuse

What I don't understand is why Senate Democrats won't threaten the use of the "Nuclear Option" (not reconciliation) for breaking the threat of a fillibuster? If the Republicans think holding up the health care bill is worth losing the right to hold up any bill, let them slit their own throats.

So put the Medicare buy-in back in the bill, threaten to invoke the "Nuclear Option" and pass this thing with 51 votes!

Posted by: knedd | December 17, 2009 7:26 PM | Report abuse

President Clinton:
Nobody (including Dr. Dean) is suggesting that the bill fail.
Dean is recommending reconciliation in the Senate only.
Then, in the House-Senate mark-up conference, set up a bill that will truly serve the American people and send it up for a final vote.
Let us Democrats have at those stinking corrupted bought-off Democrats.
They've had their fun and their 15 minutes.
Now, we need to let them know that we're ready to clean out the barn.
No, we won't elect Republicans to replace the Democrats; instead, we'll hunt for clean Democrats to take up the standard.
Further, we need to require a similar clean-out of those in the Administration who kept pushing this thing because they make President Obama look equally corrupt.
We don't need to sacrifice consumer protections; we need to excise the gangrene.
We can get this bill if President Obama will come out and confront the country with 2 facts we need to consider:
1. To allow the present situation to continue will bankrupt most Americans.
Within 5 years or less, it will be close to impossible to afford ANY health insurance, if this corporate corruption infection is allowed to continue.
2. This bill is the biggest jobs stimulator the country will be grateful for.
Think of the doctors, nurses, lab technicians, office personnel, hospitals, clinics, that will be needed to attend to 30 million more Americans, who are currently shut out of anything except an exorbitantly expensive emergency room when they are in crisis.
If he doesn't do that, President Obama will imperil his second term.
I don't say that lightly or happily.
I'm a yellow-dog Democrat and I care about retaining our lead with the public.
We're losing it right now.
Like LBJ said of the Civil Rights Act in 1964, if this keeps up, we will lose our party influence for a generation or more.
We don't want that.
The South stinks to high heaven (and I live down here).
We want our Congress to care about our populace.
That's whom they were elected to represent, whether or not they voted for them.
The good of the country, in the end.
How hard is it to understand that?

Posted by: Judy-in-TX | December 17, 2009 7:22 PM | Report abuse

As a conservative Republican, I have nonetheless respected Bill Clinton's keen mind and that he is highly articulate. I would like to see him express clearly and widely why he feels that this healthcare deserves to be law. Few of us, involved with daily chores, are capable of comprehending this bill and evaluating it. Even then, we have little influence. Tell us publicly, clearly and in understandable terms, why you think it is good, Mr. President.

Posted by: quentchan | December 17, 2009 7:18 PM | Report abuse

What I don't understand is why Senate Democrats won't threaten the use of the "Nuclear Option" (not reconciliation) for breaking the threat of a fillibuster? If the Republicans think holding up the health care bill is worth losing the right to hold up any bill, let them slit their own throats.

So put the Medicare buy-in back in the bill, threaten to invoke the "Nuclear Option" and pass this damn thing with 51 votes!

Posted by: knedd | December 17, 2009 6:49 PM | Report abuse

President Bill blunder should know what he is talking about. Much better to meet a deadline than to pass something meaningful. Have a cigar, Bill.............

Posted by: GordonShumway | December 17, 2009 6:36 PM | Report abuse

They vote down the good ideas and keep the bad ones. No re-import means we continue to pay fourfold for the most common cholesterol drug in the world. No sensible tort refrom without cps you sue me I'm innocent you pay would end ambulance chasing and overtesting by CYA doctors. We don't change the medicare cuts to only the oversupplied areas whom wealth of providers only add cost, not better outcomes. NYC, Boston and California coast are ripe for less medicare/medicaid dollars while N. Dakota has a dearth of providers. We let med schools graduate specialists at 4-1 currently while there is need for obstertricians and GPs. We pay our doctors more than anyone else because the bulk are specialists that charge more. A bump on the head without continued dizzyness will be monitored by a GP with little chance of concussion. The neurologist will CT scan, MRI doing the CYA, yet charging to look at every test. One give an office visit charge, the other thousands with the same result. We pay over 50 doctors for care in our last month of life. Does the 84 yr old woman need the pap smear when dying of pancreatic cancer living 2 months? Done all the time since over 50 seems abusive. The best bang for the buck healthcare in our country comes when providers are salaried and care is non-profit. Clinics, the Veterans Administration, even profitable companies like Target are self providers at less cost than insurers. Expanding the VA, making them first choice for all medicaid patients (not a paid in plan) before for profit providers. Doubling the audit functions of Medicare/Medicaid would save the 50 billion in cuts easily. Putting that money, not toward the uninsured (bad idea) but into the fund to cover the 30 year life expectancy of the boomers. A return to long and short term capital gains, along with a graduated tax on same could make up the difference in Medicare dollars toward the uninsured. Putting the 85% on insurers was a good idea to be expanded to providers too. Hospital emergency room freebees will end with providers getting a windfall unless we stop them from taking the savings as profit. When the VA backbone is large enough to handle all medicaid, then is the time for a public option plan using same to end for profit medicine and have us join the rest of the world.

Posted by: jameschirico | December 17, 2009 6:31 PM | Report abuse

If a lowdowm sleaze like Clinton is for it, that's reason enough to be against this blivet.

Regardless of how the dishonest democrats and their media co conspirators spin it, it will result in a Kremlin like organization tht will run our health care and our lives.

Posted by: LarryG62 | December 17, 2009 6:11 PM | Report abuse

I'm no longer a big supporter of the HC bill as written, but think that Lieberman may have sent Nelson a message and opened the door that its now OK to threaten to torpedo HC reform for their own totally unrelated pet causes. Give in to Nelson's threat Reid and you are playing with fire. The line in the sand should have been drawn last Aug. but must be expressed to Nelson: either get on board or you and Joe will need to go back home to your constituents and explain how your Committee assignments and chairmanships suddenly disappeared b/c of your own ego driven agenda. Enough is enough. That door should never have opened; open it some more and you can expect this whole bill to collaps. There is no way the House will go along with Nelson's demand. Since there apparantly is no public option left in the HC bill, then what in the world is Nelson thinking; unless he would simply expect Roe v Wade abolished legislatively, for his HC vote?

Posted by: leichtman | December 17, 2009 6:04 PM | Report abuse

The bills passing would be 'a colossal blunder'

Posted by: riain | December 17, 2009 5:39 PM | Report abuse

Insuring the 10 million who want insurance but can't afford it doesn't require healthcare reform, Slick Willy!

Posted by: cschotta1 | December 17, 2009 5:31 PM | Report abuse

ET TU, BILL? How many big insurance companies donate to CGI? Just wondering...


***

OBAMA'S TET OFFENSIVE? OR A LAST CHANCE POWER DRIVE?

Obama losing Olbermann on health care reform is akin to LBJ losing Cronkite on Vietnam -- at least to his disillusioned base.

Mr. President, Democrats: Can you spell "R-E-C-O-N-C-I-L-I-A-T-I-O-N?"

Prove to the nation that Democrats can pass meaningful health care reform.

***

BUT WHAT GOOD IS HEALTH CARE REFORM TO THOUSANDS OF AMERICANS WHO ARE ELECTROMAGNETICALLY TORTURED AND IMPAIRED BY A FEDERAL MICROWAVE/LASER WEAPONS SYSTEM -- EMPLOYING CELL TOWERS AND SATELLITES?

http://nowpublic.com/world/obama-wrong-unaware-u-s-does-torture-its-own-citizens OR http://NowPublic.com/scrivener RE: "GESTAPO USA"

Posted by: scrivener50 | December 17, 2009 4:01 PM | Report abuse

I guess we just have to weigh which is the biggest blunder now, passing it or trashing it.

Posted by: JRM2 | December 17, 2009 3:48 PM | Report abuse

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