Statement on Health Care Reform Legislation
Today Senator George Mitchell reported that he sees no way to pass health care reform in this session of Congress. He and the bipartisan group of Senators have been doing their best. But he cannot find the 60 votes needed to overcome the Republican filibuster.
I am very sorry to say that this means Congress isn't going to reform health care this year. But we are not giving up on our mission to cover every American and to control health care costs.
When I addressed Congress a year ago, I said our journey to health care reform would have some rough spots in the road. Well, we've had a few. But this journey is far, far from over.
Some Republican leaders keep saying, "Let's put this off until next year." I am going to hold them to their word. We have reached out to Republicans, and we will continue to do that. But we are going to keep up the fight against the interests who spent $300 million to stop health care reform. We will fight for campaign finance and lobby reform, so these special interests do not continue to obstruct vital legislation, and we will return to the fight for health care reform. There is too much at stake for all the American people, and we have come too far to just walk away now.
Although we have not achieved our goal this year, Hillary and I are proud—and our allies should be proud as well—that we were able to bring this debate further than it has ever progressed before. For solid, smart, and important reasons, the ordinary working families of America expect their elected leaders to pass health care reform:
—If we don't act, the deficit we have worked so hard to contain will balloon again over time.
—And, most important, millions of Americans still won't be able to count on coverage when their families need it. Every month that we don't act, 100,000 more Americans will lose their coverage. They will join the 5 million Americans who lost theirs in the last 5 years.
For their sake, and for the sake of those who touched us during this great journey, we are going to keep up this fight and we will prevail.
William J. Clinton, Statement on Health Care Reform Legislation Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/217844