“I’d Be Surprised If We Don’t Get It This Year”: President Clinton Speaks to Bloggers on Health Care Reform


At a meeting with a small group of progressive bloggers at the Clinton Foundation headquarters in Harlem this afternoon, President Bill Clinton held forth on climate change and building retrofitting, access to AIDS medicines in the developing world, and education standards, but came alive when discussing prospects for health care reform.

The former President observed that the country, emerging from a
"post-9/11 emotional straitjacket" has become "more communitarian" — and that President Obama has fewer budget issues, and less Republican opposition, to content with when attempting reform.  But, most importantly, "everything is worse now" — health care spending
has doubled, more are uninsured, and disposable income, adjusted for inflation, is down.  Clinton pointed out that for health care reform to stick,
the delivery system has to change.  While single-payer "rationally
should be the best system," it is in fact mixed public-private systems,
as in France, that were most successful, Clinton argued.  (The American
Medical Association, with whom Obama met today, has publicly denounced
a public plan; Clinton argued that the problem with Medicare –
physicians’ template for a public option — does not have a problem
with reimbursements but rather with inefficiencies.)  "I’d be surprised if we don’t get [health care reform] this year," he said.

The President also discussed access to AIDS medication and foreign aid reform in depth.  "AIDS death is the provenance of poor places" due to the absence
of health systems.  Governments, while generous about sinking funding
into medicines, have given health care systems short shrift, which
Clinton called "the next great frontier in health care for the poor."

Asked whether humanitarian and development visionary Paul Farmer would soon be joining the Obama administration in a high-level foreign aid post, Clinton averred that it was "not an announcement for me to make" and that "I don’t know yet" whether there will be an announcement.  He spoke highly of Farmer, and called for broad-scale foreign aid reform.  Only half of foreign aid money is actually spent in the target country, Clinton pointed out; the other half is spent on administrative overhead and US staff.

When I asked what the Clinton Foundation does to promote women’s rights and reproductive rights as a cornerstone of global economic development, Clinton observed that the "practice that has worked uniformly across all cultures and religions" to depress the birth rate, the rate of unintended pregnancies, and of abortions, is "universal access to education and universal access to the labor market for women."

"Part of the world’s instability is rooted in inequality," Clinton observed. 

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  • http://kimpearson.net invalid-0

    Nice recap, Emily. It was great seeing you today.

  • http://www.travestisohbet.net invalid-0

    He spoke highly of Farmer, and called for broad-scale foreign aid reform. Only half of foreign aid money is actually spent in the target country, Clinton pointed out; the other half is spent on administrative overhead and US staff.

  • http://www.adasu.gen.tr invalid-0

    Clinton argued that the problem with Medicare — physicians’ template for a public option — does not have a problem with reimbursements but rather with inefficiencies.) Thank you very much

  • http://car-japan.blogspot.com/ invalid-0

    At me does not arise at all think, that someone something should me, only because “I am a woman” or “I love it”, “I with it have overslept” or “I with it live”… Equally – and I too should not. I Can, but should not. The Smile

    All our trouble (read – female) that, quickly having acquired such attractive slogans about the equal rights with men, nobody hastens to refuse idea of unequal duties.

    Terribly it would be desirable to have all advantages of a man’s life, but thus there is no readiness to offer advantages of the female. A smile

    All want, that men contained them, but thus very few people wishes to devote all free time to this man. All want, that men were wizards and on click by fingers our desires which, of course, he also should guess on a look granted, but thus nobody wishes to cherish whims of men. All want, that the man bore responsibility, held a word, carried out of obligations. But thus women do not consider itself obliged to do the same: “Well, I the woman!” They speak and are offended in the best feelings.

  • http://www.viptravesti.net invalid-0

    While single-payer “rationally should be the best system,” it is travesti in fact mixed public-private systems, as in France, that were most successful, Clinton argued.