What is HillaryCare?

Hillary Clinton Healthcare reform

HillaryCare Explained – The History of Hillary Clinton’s Healthcare Reform Efforts

HillaryCare describes healthcare reform efforts by Hillary Clinton. This includes her healthcare reform efforts in 1993 that paved the way for CHIP and the ACA, and all efforts since. If Hillary gets elected HillaryCare will describe healthcare reform under her Presidency.

Below we discus:

  • Hillary’s early work with healthcare from the late 1970’s – 1992 as she transitioned from First Lady of Arkansas to First Lady of the United States.
  • Hillary’s push for universal healthcare in the early 90’s as First Lady. See Clinton health care plan of 1993.
  • Hillary’s involvement with getting CHIP passed as First Lady (Children’s Health Insurance Program that covers millions of low-income children across the country; one of the nation’s best programs of any type). See the History of SCHIP.
  • Hillary’s involvement with other reforms like the Medicare Prescription Drug, Improvement, and Modernization Act of 2003 (which included Part D and Part C) and the Affordable Care Act (AKA ObamaCare), and her time as Senator of New York.
  • Hillary’s more recent stances on healthcare and her career as Secretary of State.
  • Finally, what HillaryCare might look like under a Hillary Clinton Presidency.

We will keep each section short to ensure the message is clear and the page readable.

TIP: Want to know what Hillary means for the ACA? See The Health Care Reform Proposals of Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump.

Hillary Clinton As First Lady | Flashback | NBC News.

Hillary’s Early Work with Healthcare From the Late 1970’s – 1992

Most of Hillary’s early work related to healthcare, work done before she was the First Lady in the 90’s, involves her fighting for workers’ rights and helping kids and families (she really did help a lot of kids in families with her wide range of policies she pushed for over the years; see Hillary Clinton Early Years).

Bill appointed Hillary chair of the Rural Health Advisory Committee in 1979 after becoming Governor of Arkansas in the November 1978 election. She used the position to do things like secure federal funds to expand medical facilities in Arkansas’s poorest areas without affecting doctors’ fees.

From 1979–81, and then from 1983–92, while First Lady of Arkansas she also served on the boards of the Arkansas Children’s Hospital Legal Services (1988–92) and the Children’s Defense Fund (as chair, 1986–92).

Hillary also did a lot to reform education in AR, she was named Arkansas Woman of the Year in 1983 and Arkansas Mother of the Year in 1984.

To keep it short we will stop there, but it should be noted that she did lots of work for kids, families, and workers and generally was a good progressive (in retrospect and recognized as one at the time). This has ancillary affects on the health of people, but isn’t a direct involvement in healthcare.

First Lady of Arkansas, Hillary Rodham, on “In Focus” Interview – 1979.

TIP: Hillary Clinton gets mistaken as a southerner like Bill, but has a different backstory. Hillary grew up in a Republican Conservative household in Chicago. She rebelled against her upbringing and focused on progressive issues since day 1. Being born October 26, 1947, day 1 meant growing up in a time when a southern conservative was often a Democrat like George Wallace or Strom Thurmond. The Clinton’s are more of the line of the Kennedys, Gores, and LBJ, but Hillary’s earliest efforts are different. She came from an Anti-Communist family and supported Goldwater (a classical liberal Republican) instead of Nixon or LBJ in the 64′ primaries.

Hillary’s Push For Universal HealthCare 1992 -1993: The Clinton Health Care Plan AKA HillaryCare 1993

In January 1993, President Clinton named First Lady Clinton to chair a Task Force on National Health Care Reform, hoping to replicate the success she had in leading the effort for Arkansas education reform.

The recommendation of the task force became known as the Clinton health care plan, a comprehensive proposal that would require employers to provide health coverage to their employees through individual health maintenance organizations. Its opponents quickly derided the plan as “HillaryCare”, and it faced opposition from even some Democrats in Congress. Some protesters against the proposed plan became vitriolic, and during a July 1994 bus tour to rally support for the plan, Clinton wore a bulletproof vest at times.

Millions of Americans are just a pink slip away from losing their health insurance, and one serious illness away from losing all their savings. Millions more are locked into the jobs they have now just because they or someone in their family has once been sick and they have what is called the preexisting condition. And on any given day, over 37 million Americans—most of them working people and their little children—have no health insurance at all. And in spite of all this, our medical bills are growing at over twice the rate of inflation, and the United States spends over a third more of its income on health care than any other nation on Earth.

First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton’s PSA on Health Care.

Hillary had good intentions, but she couldn’t get the support needed to pass the plan. Republicans made the Clinton health care plan a major campaign issue of the 1994 midterm elections, and it won them seats in Congress (seats they would use this, and the term HillaryCare, against progressives).

Despite the loss on healthcare the Clinton’s passed a lot of reforms, in fact, so many progressive reforms passed, and conservatives fought against it so fervently, that (as an amateur historian) I would mark the Clinton Presidency (and specifically Hillary Clinton’s healthcare reform efforts) as one of the key events that resulted in the parties switching platforms since Lincoln (which results in the modern day “red state” / “blue state” dichotomy, which began in 2000). TIP: See the history of the American political parties.

The Clinton Chapters Ch.4 HillaryCare. We can look at Hillary through a rainbow colored lens and reinforce her best points to her adoring fans, but that isn’t what we are doing here. Instead, this page is meant to be a straight B line down the center. By looking at Fox New’s take on HillaryCare we see if Clinton’s true character can withstand an opposition view on its own merit (I think it can, how about you?).

TIP: HillaryCare 1993 wasn’t a true universal coverage, it was more like an ideal version of ObamaCare minus some private subsidies (however, it was radical in its time and would have expanded coverage greatly, especially to kids).

Americas Political Parties. This is a documentary from South Carolina TV from 1992. This will tell you everything you need to know about Hillary Clinton. She is very progressive on social issues, but a “Reagan Democrat” (today called New Democrat or neoliberal on other issues). That is just the way it is.

Why Clinton’s Health Care Reform Failed: Insurance Companies & Universal Health Coverage (1996).

Hillary Clinton and CHIP (State Children’s Health Insurance Program) – 1997

After failing to pass HillaryCare 93′ a new reform was attempted in 1997. Legislation inspired by HillaryCare was created and it was sponsored by Senator Edward Kennedy in a partnership with Senator Orrin Hatch with support from Hillary Clinton.

The President’s Remarks on Children’s Health Insurance Program (2000).

TIP: In the mid-90’s Hillary also promoted nationwide immunization against childhood illnesses and encouraged older women to seek a mammogram to detect breast cancer, with coverage provided by Medicare. She successfully sought to increase research funding for prostate cancer and childhood asthma at the National Institutes of Health. The First Lady worked to investigate reports of an illness that affected veterans of the Gulf War, which became known as the Gulf War syndrome.

Hillary’s Involvement With Other Reforms like Medicare Prescription Drug, Improvement, and Modernization Act of 2003 and the ACA

Hillary served as Senator of New York in the 2000’s under Bush. In this period she was involved with a number of committees related to healthcare reform (directly like United States Senate Special Committee on Aging, and indirectly like the Committee on Budget). Also, as a senator she voted on many healthcare related bills, like Medicare Part D‘s Medicare Prescription Drug, Improvement, and Modernization Act of 2003 (which she opposed, as private companies benefited greatly from the privatization of plans under this act).

Because a Senator’s job is vast, its hard to point out everything she did related to healthcare in the 2000’s, but generally she helped move healthcare reform forward during this time, which of course leads to the Affordable Care Act (which she supported, despite running against with her own alternative in 2008).

As noted above, HillaryCare is essentially the Affordable Care Act, as is RomneyCare (the state-version which was implemented in MA in the 2000’s by Mitt Romney).

What HillaryCare might look like under a Hillary Clinton Presidency

Hillary ran for President back in 2008, in this period she opposed Barack Obama. Since she ran against Obama, and she also ran against the specifics of his health plan (pushing for single payer). Fast forward 8 years and the opposite is true, she ran against Bernie Sanders and pushed to reform the ACA. Without attacking her on this, we can simply say, she generally supports healthcare reform, but has historically just moving forward whatever version she thinks is best at the time (even if that means changing stances over time).

In general, Hillary’s past tells us that we can expect healthcare reform under Hillary to be a push toward single payer, but to start with reforming the ACA. Her present stance backs this up.

Recent healthcare reform pushes by Clinton have focused on three big points agreed on by Obama, Clinton, and Sanders:

  • Negotiating drug prices (Medicare currently can’t negotiate drug prices, as Bush’s “Part D” act she voted against includes a provision that makes it this way; see “why the donut hole is a problem” and see “Prescriptions more affordable with Obamacare“).
  • A national Public option (a public plan that can compete with private plans and is commonly thought to be a good step toward single payer).
  • And curbing premium and cost sharing costs faced by consumers (a generally agreed on negative that is a relic of healthcare inflation since the 60’s, but still a problem under the ACA).

Other reforms generally include moving toward universal coverage while addressing ObamaCare’s sticking points.

You can see Hillary Clinton’s list of reforms here. According to her own website, as President Hillary Clinton Will:

  • Defend and expand the Affordable Care Act, which covers 20 million people. Hillary will stand up to Republican-led attacks on this landmark law—and build on its success to bring the promise of affordable health care to more people and make a “public option” possible. She will also support letting people over 55 years old buy into Medicare.
  • Bring down out-of-pocket costs like copays and deductibles. American families are being squeezed by rising out-of-pocket health care costs. Hillary believes that workers should share in slower growth of national health care spending through lower costs.
  • Reduce the cost of prescription drugs. Prescription drug spending accelerated from 2.5 percent in 2013 to 12.6 percent in 2014. It’s no wonder that almost three-quarters of Americans believe prescription drug costs are unreasonable. Hillary believes we need to demand lower drug costs for hardworking families and seniors. Read more here
  • Fight for health insurance for the lowest-income Americans in every state by incentivizing states to expand Medicaid—and make enrollment through Medicaid and the Affordable Care Act easier.
  • Expand access to affordable health care to families regardless of immigration status. Hillary will expand access to affordable health care to families regardless of immigration status by allowing families to buy health insurance on the health exchanges regardless of their immigration status.
  • Expand access to rural Americans, who often have difficulty finding quality, affordable health care. Hillary will explore cost-effective ways to make more health care providers eligible for telehealth reimbursement under Medicare and other programs, including federally qualified health centers and rural health clinics.
  • Defend access to reproductive health care. Hillary will work to ensure that all women have access to preventive care, affordable contraception, and safe and legal abortion.
  • Double funding for community health centers, and support the healthcare workforce: As part of her comprehensive health care agenda, Hillary is committed to doubling the funding for primary-care services at community health centers over the next decade. Hillary also supports President Obama’s call for a near tripling of the size of the National Health Service Corps.

Analyzing Hillary Clinton’s health care plan.


Synthesizing all the above, we can confidently say, “Hillary Clinton is a social progressive New Democrat who is focused on putting forward a plan that works, while working toward an ideal plan. We shouldn’t expect her to go full socialist, as that isn’t in her character, but rather we should expect her to embrace a center left policy that pushes toward reform without compromising the integrity of a Keynesian inspired mixed-free-market economy”.

Hillary Clinton was Grateful about Bernie Sanders’ Effort in Universal Healthcare Reform in 1993.

11/15/07 Democratic Debate- Hillary and Obama SPAR. Hillary Clinton, she is not Barak Obama, but she does know how to debate the greats.

Hillary Clinton vs. Bernie Sanders On Health Care Reform | Democratic Debate | MSNBC. Hillary Clinton, she is not Bernie Sanders, but she does have a record that checks out, especially when it comes to healthcare.

Morgan Freeman narrates Hillary Clinton DNC biography video. Let’s end with where we are today, the DNC biography video from the convention.

Author: Thomas DeMichele

Thomas DeMichele is the head writer and founder of ObamaCareFacts.com, FactsOnMedicare.com, and other websites. He has been in the health insurance and healthcare information field since 2012. ObamaCareFacts.com is a...

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