As keynote speaker at the Netroots Nation conference of progressive/liberal bloggers in Pittsburgh, Mr. Clinton sarcastically denounced what he considers the false, revisionist history: “Everybody knows that Hillary presented this horribly complicated, 1,300-page bill, which would have broken the back of the federal statutes. And what she should’ve done was refused to present a bill and just have her committee issue a report to Congress with recommendations.”
In reality, Mr. Clinton said, the bill-writing was dictated by Congress: “We actually pleaded with the chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee to let us send a report with recommendations and have them write the bill, and he said, ‘I will not take this up unless you send me a bill.’ ”
. . . One voice notably absent from this entire debate is that of Mrs. Clinton, who is now ensconced in the Obama administration as the secretary of state and wholly devoted to other issues.
We probably won’t ever know how much Mr. Clinton was channeling his wife’s frustrations during his mid-August speech. But we do know she was an ardent champion of universal health care during her presidential primary bid, when her opponent, Candidate Obama, was advocating more limited measures. She may have helped set the stage by emphasizing “choice,” a now constant refrain of Democrats who promise that Americans won’t lose their doctors or their health care.
And we also know that during her time in the Senate, Mrs. Clinton often referred to the lessons she learned from trying to accomplish a more sweeping overhaul of the health care system — a plan far more ambitious than anything imagined today.