In 1993 Democrats ruled Washingon. They held the White House and both chambers of Congress. Health care reform polled favorably with voters and then Governor Bill Clinton had made its passage a key part of his successful presidential campaign. Yet, the Administration’s health care reform package failed dismally and helped Republicans takeover both houses of Congress in the 1994 election.
Senator Hillary Clinton, who led the Clinton Administration’s health care reform efforts, blames its defeat on special interests. Senator Barack Obama claims her approach to developing and promoting the reform package was to blame as well. On this point, he’s right. If anything, he understates the point.
There’s a post on my health care reform blog that goes into the details. What’s significant about this is not that the political clumsiness of then First Lady Clinton’s undermined the chances of meaninful health care reform 15 years ago. It’s what her failure to recognize her own contribution to its failure says about what a second Clinton Administration might be like.