Former president Bill Clinton returned to Comedy Central’s The Daily Show last night, and he had some interesting comments and insights about the current healthcare reform debate. Clinton expressed optimism that a healthcare reform would be passed this year. He said, “I have always believed from the night of the election, he would pass healthcare.”
Host Jon Stewart asked Bill Clinton about Obama’s prospects on healthcare reform. Clinton answered, “I have always believed from the night of the election, before the election that he would pass healthcare. I also believe that the circumstances today are just what they were 15 years ago, except all the indicators are worse, that is we spend now 50% more than any other country, yet we are the only wealthy country that doesn’t insure everybody, and we don’t have better health outcomes than most upper income countries.”
The former president also talked about how healthcare reform relates to the current economic situation. Clinton said, “It complicates it. The only thing that is harder for him than me is that this economy is even worse, and people saw me trying to bring the deficit down and go to a balanced budget, and think gosh we already got this problem, but keep in mind we can save money if we do healthcare right. We can save money. We’re already spending 16% of our income on healthcare. No one else is spending more than ten and a half, that’s Canada. That’s eight or nine hundred billion dollars we are spending that we wouldn’t be spending if we had any other country’s system, and yet we don’t get better health outcomes for it and we don’t cover everyone.”
Clinton continued, “So what we have to do is find a way to cover everyone to make everybody who has health insurance have secure insurance, and to cut the outside cost, because what happens is if let’s one of these young people out here doesn’t have health insurance, they’ll still get healthcare, but it will be too late, too expensive, in the emergency room, then their costs will be passed on to everybody else, which is why young people have supported President Obama’s call, even though they’ll be subject to the individual mandate more than anybody else. The important thing is to keep stumbling forward. Will he prevail this time? I think so. It’s time. We gotta do it.
You know, it is easy to forget just how good Bill Clinton can be. He made clearer argument for healthcare reform in this segment than the Obama administration has in months. It is a shame that President Clinton couldn’t have been this persuasive back in 1994. While I was watching Clinton a question crossed my mind. Why is it that the media keeps proclaiming healthcare reform dead, but top Democrats are confident that it will pass?
There is a disconnect between the media and the politicians. If healthcare reform is in such dire shape why are Democrats so confident that a bill will be passed? I think the answer rests in the fact that the media isn’t really big on math.
It is a better story to talk about the death of healthcare, than the political reality that the math favors the Democrats, who have the math in their favor. To me it has been obvious for months that a healthcare bill will pass. The battle is really over what is going to be in the final bill.