News Release

Clinton’s Domestic Legacies

IDA HELLANDER, M.D.
Executive director of Physicians for a National Health Program, Hellander said today: “The HMOs — which rose during the 1990s — are, in effect, practicing medicine by deciding which tests and treatments will be covered. They skimp on coverage to maximize their profits. When they deny medically necessary care for patients, they should be held accountable. The Supreme Court is taking us in the wrong direction. It’s precisely because of the grip of the giant HMO and drug company lobbies on our Congress that we don’t have a universal health care system like every other industrialized nation. We need to abolish investor-owned, for-profit health care, not license it to do harm.”
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OLVEEN CARRASQUILLO, M.D.
Director of the Columbia Center for the Health of Urban Minorities, Carrasquillo said today: “Early on, Clinton was advised on a simple comprehensive, egalitarian and universal plan that would cover everyone for much less money than our current system. Instead he chose to pursue an extremely complicated and expensive plan which he felt would placate some of the managed care insurers. After that plan was soundly defeated, he chose to pursue an ‘era of big government is over’ incremental approach. So what has the 10 years of incrementalism done for Latinos? Our research shows that in 1993, the number of uninsured Latinos was 8.4 million; in 2002 it was 12.7 million. We found a steady rise in the number of uninsured Latinos during his so-called period of economic prosperity and a more sharp increase during the recession that occurred soon after he left office. Hardest hit were immigrant Latinos, primarily due to loss of government coverage after Clinton’s ‘welfare reform’ legislation got enacted

THEODORE LOWI
Professor in the department of government at Cornell University, Lowi is author of several books including The Personal President and The End of Liberalism. He said today: “Bill Clinton is currently benefiting from the fact that each president contributes to the upgrading of his predecessor. Clinton was arguably our last Republican president. Recall his welfare bill, crime bill and his support for NAFTA. Comparable to Eisenhower, Clinton constrained but did not try to dismantle any of the New Deal. By contrast, the current Bush administration is more Tory — a toxic combination of God rhetoric, money, cronyism and severe moral hierarchy that poses a real threat of fascism for our nation.”

GWENDOLYN MINK
Author of the book Welfare’s End, Mink is currently working on a book about the Democratic Party. She said today: “The real legacy of the Clinton presidency was concordance between the Democratic White House and the Republican Congress on the role and responsibility of government. Clinching the rightward shift propelled by Reagan Era initiatives, Clinton mainstreamed the Republican war on government and against people who are most in need of governmental initiatives to mitigate the effects of inequalities in the market and in other social relations. He did this most famously in his so-called ‘welfare reform,’ which stripped poor families of the safety net and injured poor mothers’ constitutional rights in the name of ‘personal responsibility.’ How galling that Clinton now confesses that he did not learn or practice personal responsibility until long after he imposed a disciplinary welfare regime on poor women he accused of lacking it. Clinton’s ‘parallel lives’ produced dissociative policies that at one and the same time promised to promote women’s rights and gender equality while also brutalizing women whose rights are most precarious and who are most vulnerable to inequality. The dissociative Clinton legacy poses a big challenge to the Democratic Party: how to become Democrats again.”
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For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; David Zupan, (541) 484-9167