Sean Hannity claimed that Sen. Hillary Clinton's new health-care plan is "basically repackaging her old proposal with new rhetoric ... in the hopes that we'll be dumb and we'll buy the new rhetoric," and that "in the end, it's going to be exactly what she was proposing in '93." Hannity suggested that a September 17 New York Times article reported that Clinton is falsely claiming that her new plan is different from the plan she proposed in 1993. In fact, the article reported that "[a] variety of health policy analysts ... said the change between Clinton 1 and Clinton 2 was striking."
On the September 18 edition of his nationally syndicated radio show, discussing Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton's (D-NY) new health-care plan, Sean Hannity claimed that Clinton is "basically repackaging her old proposal with new rhetoric, here, in the hopes that we'll be dumb and we'll buy the new rhetoric," and that "in the end, it's going to be exactly what she was proposing in '93." Hannity suggested that a September 17 New York Times article reported that Clinton is falsely claiming that her new plan is different from the plan she proposed in 1993 during the presidency of her husband, Bill Clinton. In fact, the Times article reported that "[a] variety of health policy analysts ... said the change between Clinton 1 and Clinton 2 was striking." The article quoted Stuart Altman, "a health economist at Brandeis University who has been a policy adviser since the Nixon Administration," saying that Clinton's new plan "is much less radical: it's not fair at all to say it's a redo of the old plan."
With regard to Clinton's 1993 proposal, the Times reported: "The first plan, for example, would have required people and employers to join new 'regional alliances' to purchase coverage. It would have tried to control total health spending through a complicated system of managed competition, and would have created a National Health Board with sweeping authority to regulate that system. In addition, employers would have been required to provide coverage to their workers." By contrast, the Times reported, "This time Mrs. Clinton would create tax incentives to help small businesses with the cost of coverage, but would not require them to offer it."
A September 18 Washington Post article similarly reported that "[t]he plan remains a far cry from the one Clinton and the controversial 500-person task force assembled behind closed doors at the start of Bill Clinton's first term." Additionally, a September 18 op-ed by New York Times columnist David Brooks stated that Clinton and her staff "never seriously consider[ed] a Canadian-style single-payer system" in the current proposal. Brooks asserted: "This time the change is evolutionary, not revolutionary. The private insurance/employer-based system will still remain the heart and soul of the social contract -- it's just that more people will be given tax credits so they can afford to buy in."
From the September 18 edition of ABC Radio Networks' The Sean Hannity Show:
HANNITY: One of the major differences is, if you go back to Hillary 1.0, her first version, the length of the document was nearly 1,400 pages. The length of this new document, her new plan: 10 pages with footnotes. That's it. I mean, it's not -- the original cost in '93: $331 billion over six years. It's nearly twice that, $110 billion a year. By the way, that's just the tip of the iceberg. It's going to be a lot more than that. Now, I want you to listen to this, because it's -- Hillary is very, very careful. Even The New York Times, which rarely gets a lot of this stuff right, they picked up on this. "Wary of Past, Clinton Unveils a Health Plan." Now what are they saying there, that she basically -- uh-oh -- she's not gonna really tell people what this is about because she knows what's gonna happen. So she is engaged in putting out platitudes, slogans, clichés, no specifics, no justification for her $110 billion-a-year figure. She goes on and on, "This is not government run. There will be no new bureaucracy."
HANNITY: She doesn't want to be honest about what she's really proposing here, so what you have are carefully crafted, focus-group-tested wording about how she's gonna try and sell this to you. And this is what they've come up with; here, listen to this:
CLINTON [audio clip]: This is not government-run. There will be no new bureaucracies. You can keep the doctors you know and trust. You keep the insurance you have, if you like it. But this plan expands personal choice and increases competition to keep costs down.
HANNITY: Now putting aside the obvious manipulation here -- this is purposefully distorted, these are focus group phrases that they have come up with to manipulate the American people into thinking, "It's not really Hillarycare, this is about pro-choice." For example, it's like the pro-life, pro-choice argument, here. If we just call it choice, people will find it more acceptable for themselves. And she has been the champion of the health-care Titanic since 1993. And basically what she's recognizing here is she had to learn some lessons. And all she's doing is basically repackaging her old proposal with new rhetoric, here, in the hopes that we'll be dumb and we'll buy the new rhetoric. She now basically wants to frame the proposal as anti-bureaucratic, anti-big-government, but yet, in the end, it's going to be exactly what she was proposing in '93.
Now, in a lot of ways, conservatives ought to take heart in this. I think that means conservatives have won in terms of framing the debate. And she has to acknowledge this here. In other words, we're forcing liberals, at least rhetorically, that they've got to rid themselves of their embrace of big government.