Wednesday 2 September 2009

Clinton's little health-care card, 1993

The New York Times, sixteen Septembers ago:

"With this card, if you lose your job or you switch jobs, you're covered," Mr. Clinton declared, holding aloft the freshly-minted red, white and blue card. "If you leave your job to start a small business, you're covered. If you're an early retiree, you're covered." In his speech and in the political struggle to come, Mr. Clinton hopes to move beyond the contentious details of the health plan and keep the public focused on the fundamentals: the fear of a medical catastrophe, the security of "health care that's always there," and the promise of a card as tangible and comforting as the Social Security card was to the Depression generation. The idea of health care reform has gained force on the campaign trail over the last five years, breaking through in the 1991 Pennsylvania Senate race and driving much of the 1992 Presidential campaign before bringing Mr. Clinton to this speech. "It is a magic moment and we must seize it," the President said, in a speech infused with an almost wartime sense of urgency.

That's what Obama needs: a little blue card, and a 20-word explanation -- health care that can never be taken away.

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