Rove: Wrong Again
Hillary on Health Care
She understands she's got a weakness on this. - Karl Rove, Meet the Press, 8/19/07
Fact: 91% Of Dems Approve of Hillary On Health Care, The Highest of Any Candidate on Any Issue
Gallup: 'Her 91% rating among democrats on healthcare is the highest for any candidate on any issue within their own party': The Clinton administration's unsuccessful attempt to pass comprehensive healthcare reform in 1993-1994 has not shaken Democrats' (or independents') confidence in her to recommend the right thing for healthcare. Her 91% rating among Democrats on healthcare is the highest for any candidate on any issue within their own party. [Gallup Poll, 7/23-26/07 ]
Fact: Hillary Has An Unmatched Record of Expanding And Improving Healthcare Coverage
As First Lady, Hillary helped create SCHIP, which provides health insurance for more than 6 million children: As First Lady, Hillary helped pass the State Children's Health Insurance Program. She helped negotiate the bill with Congress and later was the point person working to ensure that parents across the country knew about the program and signed up their children. "Over the course of a year, the program, financed jointly by the federal government and the states, provides health insurance to six million children in families that have too much income to qualify for Medicaid but not enough to buy private insurance." [White House Press Release 10/17/00; New York Times, 3/14/07]
As Senator, Hillary helped ensure that 370,000 children did not lose coverage: As Senator, Clinton successfully sponsored legislation to extend $2.7 billion in unused State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) funding. Because the Clinton-backed bill became law, the $2.7 billion in expiring funds will now go to the states for their intended purpose - health coverage for children. This action alone prevented 360,000 children nationwide from losing coverage. Recently, Hillary introduced a major expansion of the program, extending children's health coverage to families up to 400% of the federal poverty level (which is $70,000 for a family of three). [HRC Press Release 8/14/03; Hillary release, 3/14/07 ]
Today, Hillary is fighting President Bush's efforts to block bi-partisan SCHIP expansion: "So first and foremost, we have to keep the existing program going, but we all believe that it is important to try to expand its coverage beyond the nearly six million that it covers now because John is absolutely right, as every one of us knows, a child with a physical illness, dental problems, other undiagnosed ailments behavioral or even mental is not going to be successful. And it is just wrong for the president to threaten to veto this effort to expand the children's health insurance program. So we're going to do everything we can to pass this program. And if he wants to have part of his legacy be vetoing the child health insurance program then we'll try to override the veto because this is absolutely an imperative. There are lots of examples of how children are not successful in school because they don't have access to quality, affordable healthcare. I just think it's outrageous and offensive that the President would threaten to veto this legislation." [Remarks at the Center for American Progress, 7/25/07]
Hillary introduced legislation - now enacted into law - which ensures prescription drugs are safe for children: As First Lady and Senator, Clinton successfully introduced and helped pass legislation protecting kids from drugs that have not first been tested on children. In 2003, Clinton introduced the Pediatric Research Equity Act which gave the FDA authority to secure pediatric studies and labeling of drugs that are widely used for children. This legislation was signed into law in December 2003. In 2007, she introduced the Pediatric Research Improvement Act to make "make permanent the Food and Drug Administration's authority to ensure that drugs marketed for pediatric use are safe and effective for children." [S.650, introduced 3/18/03, passed Senate by unanimous consent on 7/23/03, became P.L. 108-155 on 12/3/03. AP 11/19/03; Clinton release 3/27/07 ]
Hillary fought to expand Medicare to cover mammogram screenings: Hillary worked with Congress to expand Medicare coverage to help pay for annual mammogram screenings for all beneficiaries age 40 and over. In 1995, Hillary launched the Medicare Mammography Campaign, traveling the country and taping public service announcement to urge older women to get mammograms and to promote the use of Medicare coverage. [Medicare Mammography Campaign launch 5/1/95; Public Service Announcements 9/23/99, 10/2/97]
Hillary fought to ensure all children receive critical immunizations: Clinton spearheaded the Administration's 1993 Childhood Immunization Initiative and childhood immunizations rates are now at an historic high. According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), 90 percent or more of America's toddlers received the most critical doses of each of the routinely recommended vaccines in 1996, 1997, and again in 1998 -surpassing the Administration's 1993 goal. Since becoming a Senator in 2001, Clinton has introduced or cosponsored over 10 pieces of legislation to promote immunization awareness and provide for emergency vaccine supplies. [U.S. Newswire, 7/23/97; S. 371, S. 226]
Fact: Hillary Opposed Bush's Health Care Agenda Because It Was Fatally Flawed
Rove Attack - 'Hillary Clinton voted against providing seniors with a prescription drug benefit'
Fact - At behest of pharmaceutical companies, Bush's bill prohibited government from negotiating with for lower drug prices for seniors. "Currently, insurance companies operating within the Medicare system are paying close to 70 percent more for drugs than the Veterans Administration or countries that negotiate drug prices directly with the pharmaceutical industry. According to the report, if the program were designed to enable Medicare to negotiate prices directly with drug companies -- and offer a benefit as an add-on to the existing Medicare program -- it could save the government and beneficiaries more than $30 billion a year." [CEPR, 3/7/07 ]
Fact - Bush's bill increased cost for many seniors, falls short for those with high drug costs. Or when the CBO states that seniors with prescription drug costs of $1,115 or less would end up paying more through premiums, deductibles, and cost-sharing than they receive in return from this bill? But this bill falls short for patients with high drug costs as well. Even seniors who spend $5,000 or more will get only $1700, and have to manage 66 percent of the costs on their own. [Hillary Floor Statement on Medicare Drug Proposal, 6/20/2003 ]
Fact - Bush's bill gave 'states an incentive to cut back on their programs, or even end them altogether': "The federal government isn't lifting the state's costly burden of prescription drugs, and it even adds some administrative burdens on state Medicaid offices. The bill gives states an incentive to cut back on their programs, or even end them altogether. This would be bad news for the 316,000 seniors How can we say this plan delivers with this large benefit gap?" [Hillary Floor Statement on Medicare Drug Proposal, 6/20/2003 ]
Rove Attack - 'Hillary Clinton voted against allowing people to save tax free for the out-of-pocket medical expenses'
Fact -- Health savings accounts give tax breaks to the healthiest and wealthiest: "It's also important to understand these policies are consistent with the administration's theory about how we should manage our economy: leave it all up to the individual. That's why they want to privatize Social Security and let individuals bear the risks. It's why their answer to the health care crisis is limited to creating health savings account, which allows the healthiest people to get the best deal, with little concern if the sickest get worse. They call it the ownership society. But it's really the 'on your own' society." [Economic Policy Forum, 5/29/07]
Rove Attack - 'Hillary Clinton voted against medical liability reform so that docs are not forced out of practices by junk law suits.'
Fact - Hillary supports smart, proven medical malpractice reform that protects patients and reduces medical errors: "The Senate has rightfully defeated legislation masquerading as medical malpractice reform. Senator Barack Obama and I have introduced the National Medical Error Disclosure and Compensation or MEDiC Act to bridge the gap between the medical liability and patient safety systems for the benefit of both patients and physicians. Through better communication, more cooperation and protection from liability within the context of the program, our bill gives doctors and patients an avenue to find solutions outside of the courtroom, which the vast majority of patients say is what they want. This model is already showing positive results at a number of hospital systems and private liability insurance companies around the country, including the University of Michigan Health System." [Release, 5/9/07]
Rove attack - Hillary Clinton opposes 'allowing people to shop for health insurance across state lines'
Bush's Association Health Plans 'would add more than 1 million people to the ranks of the uninsured' and increase premiums: "I think that the Administration's plans for small businesses will not do what is advertised. It will not lower costs and increase coverage. In fact, the evidence says otherwise. The Congressional Budget Office, which is non-partisan, analyzed the proposal for what are called association health plans for small businesses, and they found these so-called AHPs would add more than 1 million people to the ranks of the uninsured and they would cause premiums to increase by more than 20 percent for the sickest workers. That does not sound like progress to me that sounds again, like a failed ideology from well inside the borders of the evidence-free zone." [Remarks of Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton to the Rochester Health Care Forum, 1/23/06 ]
Fact: As President Hillary Will Lower Costs, Improve Quality And Provide Universal Coverage
Hillary has the strength and experience on health care to build a coalition to improve quality, reign in costs and provide universal coverage. "But I learned some valuable lessons from that experience. One is that we can't achieve reform without the participation and commitment of health care providers, employers, employees and other citizens who pay for, depend upon, and actually deliver health care services. I think we finally have a recognition that everyone sees there is an economic imperative to rein in costs. There is a moral imperative to extend coverage to all Americans. And, there is a practical necessity to promote wellness and prevent illness wherever possible. I plan to put those lessons to work to ensure every single American has quality, affordable health coverage." [Remarks, 5/24/07]