[Congressional Record Volume 140, Number 146 (Saturday, October 8, 1994)]
[Extensions of Remarks]
[Page E]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]


[Congressional Record: October 8, 1994]
From the Congressional Record Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]

 
            WHAT REALLY KILLED HEALTH CARE REFORM THIS YEAR?

                                 ______


                          HON. PHILIP M. CRANE

                              of illinois

                    in the house of representatives

                        Friday, October 7, 1994

  Mr. CRANE. Mr. Speaker, history may remember the 103d Congress for 
the attention that was given to the issue of health care reform. 
Despite all of the debate that took place, however, health care reform 
legislation will not be brought to the House floor for consideration 
before adjournment. As my colleagues consider the reasons for the 
downfall of health care reform this year and prepare to revisit the 
issue in the next Congress, I urge them to read the following editorial 
which recently appeared in a newspaper that circulates in my district 
in Illinois The News-Sun. I agree with the editorial's observation 
about the public's rejection of President Clinton's big government 
approach to health care reform and urge my colleagues to take a closer 
look at the free market alternatives that have been proposed.

                           Lessons in failure

       At Issue: The failed exercise in health reform should show 
     the way to President Clinton and Democratic congressional 
     leaders.
       George Mitchell's bitter pronouncement that there will be 
     no health reform this year illustrates one reason that the 
     effort to remake one-seventh of the U.S. economy was doomed 
     from the start: He made a partisan issue of it.
       Health reform died, the Senate majority leader declared, 
     because the Republicans killed it. This files in the face of 
     political reality.
       Democrats enjoy a 56-44 majority in the Senate and a 
     lopsided 256-178 edge in the House. If Democrats had fallen 
     in line behind either President Clinton's health reform plan 
     or Mitchell's scaled-down plan or Rep. Richard Gephardt's 
     alternative plan, they could have passed a health bill this 
     year.
       Mitchell claims Republicans have an effective veto in the 
     Senate, even though they constitute a minority. Yet, while it 
     is true the Democrats would have had to muster 60 votes to 
     overcome a Republican filibuster, Mitchell could not raise 
     even 51 votes for his or any other plan.
       Senate Minority Leader Bob Dole was quite right when he 
     said, ``The Republicans didn't kill health care. The American 
     people did.''
       Poll after poll after poll showed that, after a thorough 
     public debate, most Americans did not look favorably upon the 
     reforms put forward by either the White House or Democratic 
     leaders in Congress.
       They didn't like the idea of the government injecting 
     itself into the health care system. They were understandably 
     wary of any plan that would put the government between them 
     and their doctors.
       And that's precisely what the Clinton-Gephardt-Mitchell 
     plans would have done. All would have limited a patient's 
     choices in doctors and hospitals. All would have imposed a 
     one-size-fits-all basic health plan. And all would have 
     required massive new taxes.
       The Democratic approach gave short shrift to the fact that 
     85 percent of Americans had health insurance. Instead their 
     proposals, which placed a priority on universal coverage were 
     directed primarily toward the 15 percent of Americans who 
     lack health insurance for some period or another.
       The White House also ignored the fact that 80 percent of 
     Americans are satisfied with the medical coverage provided by 
     their insurance. Instead, the administration, decided to 
     depict the insurance industry as greedy concerns that brought 
     the health care system, in Hillary Clinton's words, ``to the 
     brink of bankruptcy.
       Finally, Clinton-Gephardt-Mitchell conveniently overlooked 
     the fact that 75 percent of Americans are happy with the 
     quality of care they receive.
       The death of health reform is a textbook example of how 
     misbegotten public policy can go awry in the face of popular 
     opposition.
       If President Clinton and Democratic congressional leaders 
     have learned anything from this failed exercise, perhaps they 
     will work with Republicans next year to craft a far less 
     intrusive health reform plan that most Americans can support.

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