Sally Bedell Smith characterizes as "absolutely fair" Russert's suggestion that Hillary Clinton to blame for 40 million uninsured

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On the October 27 edition of CNBC's The Tim Russert Show, during a discussion with Sally Bedell Smith, author of the just-released book, For Love of Politics: Bill and Hillary Clinton: The White House Years (Random House), Russert asserted, "On health care, when you read the inside reporting in your book about it, it is so striking that there are significant people in the Clinton administration, the Secretary of the Treasury Lloyd Bentsen; the economic adviser Robert Rubin -- I read somewhere that Donna Shalala, the Health and Human Services secretary, called the plan 'crazy'; Leon Panetta, the Office of Management and Budget; [then-Sen.] Pat Moynihan [D-NY], the chairman of the [Senate] Finance Committee; [then-Sen.] Bill Bradley [NJ], another Democrat; Republicans, all saying, 'We can do something, but this plan is too big, too much. Compromise and we can get a scaled measure through.' " Russert continued, "Ironically, the scaled measure they were all talking about is pretty close to the plan that [Sen.] Hillary Clinton [D-NY] has now adopted in 2008, which means that from 1993 to 2008, 40 million people went without care because she was so wedded to getting that plan -- her original plan -- through. Fair?" Smith replied, "Absolutely fair," and went on to assert that "if Hillary's White House had yielded to Bill's White House, we would've had a decent health care plan that would've worked for so many people."

From the October 27 edition of CNBC's The Tim Russert Show:

RUSSERT: On health care, when you read the inside reporting in your book about it, it is so striking that there are significant people in the Clinton administration, the Secretary of the Treasury Lloyd Bentsen; the economic adviser Robert Rubin -- I read somewhere that Donna Shalala, the Health and Human Services secretary, called the plan "crazy"; Leon Panetta, the Office of Management and Budget; Pat Moynihan, the chairman of the Finance Committee; Bill Bradley, another Democrat; Republicans, all saying, "We can do something, but this plan is too big, too much. Compromise and we can get a scaled measure through." Ironically, the scaled measure they were all talking about is pretty close to the plan that Hillary Clinton has now adopted in 2008, which means that from 1993 to 2008, 40 million people went without care because she was so wedded to getting that plan -- her original plan -- through. Fair?

BEDELL SMITH: Absolutely fair. There were so many points along the way, and the complication again had to do with this dynamic between the two of them back then. There was a fellow who used to represent the hospitals named Michael Bromberg, and he said, "There was Hillary's White House and Bill's White House, and we didn't know which White House was in charge. And, as you say, if Hillary's White House had yielded to Bill's White House, we would've had a decent health care plan that would've worked for so many people. And I think the lesson, or the cautionary tale to look at, is the degree to which Hillary becomes invested in something she believes in, which was certainly the case then, and the test of that with this current plan, which, you know, has features that may be debatable, whether she would be willing to yield on things that Democrats -- moderate Democrats, moderate Republicans would say to her "these won't work." Would she be willing to fold them and accept something less? And that's the real crux of it, I think. It's not so much what she says, it's what she's willing to do. You have to look at the actions.

Posted In
Health Care
Network/Outlet
CNBC
Person
Tim Russert
Stories/Interests
Hillary Clinton, 2008 Elections
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