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Int J Health Serv. 2008;38(2):205-12.

Looking back at the future: why Hillarycare failed.

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Department of Health Policy and Management, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Maryland 21205, USA.


The current Democratic Party candidates for U.S. president, including Hillary Rodham Clinton, have committed themselves to establishing universal health care that will guarantee access to care in time of need, a basic human right still denied in the United States. This commitment is partly a response to the U.S. population's high levels of dissatisfaction (now at unprecedented levels) with the way health care is funded and organized. The article analyzes why a similar commitment by President Bill Clinton in 1992 failed, and challenges some of the main explanations for that failure put forward by protagonists of the White House health care reform task force (chaired by Hillary Clinton). The author emphasizes that the primary reason for the failure was the lack of political will to confront major players in medical care funding, especially the insurance companies and large employers. He postulates that unless such political will exists and unless the system of funding electoral campaigns undergoes major reform-reducing or eliminating the power of financial and economic lobbies in the political process-the United States will not have universal health care. It is a worrisome sign that these lobbies are financing the campaigns of many of today's presidential candidates.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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