Greg Sargent asks President Clinton about President Obama’s chances of passing comprehensive health reform and the challenges of shepherding a plan through Congress:
It’s gonna be much harder to get the doctors and the business community to come out against reform than it was 14 years ago…The only way they can beat it this time is if they can convince public opinion and enough members of Congress that reforming health care now will cost more jobs than it will save. And I think that’s gonna be a pretty hard sell…The President’s gonna be on strong ground…The last election showed a cultural shift in America which had been building for a decade, and a rejection of the economic and social policies of not just the eight years of President Bush but the 12 years before me. There’s a willingness to take a fresh look at all this. I believe he should try, I’m glad he’s going to, and I think it’s a better than 50-50 chance he’ll succeed.
Indeed, Obama has explained the health care crisis in the context of the economic recession. It’s a connection more and more Americans can personally appreciate, as rising unemployment numbers translate into an increase in the uninsured. In fact, during a time when the automakers are shedding health care benefits to remain competitive and employers are struggling to provide coverage, the nay-sayres are sounding like Hooverites — out of touch with Wall Street and Main Street.
A crisis is a terrible thing to waste and if Obama’s stimulus package and budget are any indication, he plans to take full advantage of it to reform the health care system.