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In 1993, bill Clinton proposed a health reform plan that he thought would correct most of America's health problems. The plan sought to address a number of issues including public medical health care and insurance. The legislation of the President's health reform plan came under intense opposition from both the congress and the general public leading to its failure.
The following are the reasons for the failure of the proposed health reform plan.
It is worth mentioning that the greatest mistake made by Clinton's administration is their excess optimism and ambition in drafting of the health reform plan. The plan was intended to cover a lot of issues such as the regulation of the insurance market especially private insurance. It also aimed at changing the means of through which health care was being financed and shift the mandate to the employer. The plan also aimed at controlling the costs of health care to those levels that were enforced a national health board and ensure that the delivery system is transformed through care which would be managed. It is very difficult for any one of the above goals to be achieved and even though it was a good idea to group them together, it only led to a lot of politics and opposition from the affected sectors of the economy (Oberlander, 2007). The Congressional Republicans, the Health Insurance Association of America and the National Federation of Independent Business offered the greatest opposition to the goals of this plan.
Under estimation of opposition
Bill Clinton's administration did not anticipate the magnitude of opposition that the plan would face. They thought that they had so much support leading to the opposition being underestimated. Most groups that the administration thought would give them a lot of support and therefore concentrated on them such as big business organizations failed them. There was little mobilization of forms of organized constituency to be able to counter attacks from opposition groups. There was also internal division among congressional democrats as some of them opted to push for some solutions that they favored rather than being united and back Clinton's plan. Some congressional democrats were in favor of the insurance market while some of them opposed the idea of having universal insurance coverage in favor of a limited access model. There was a group which was in support of the 'Medicare model' while another minority group supported the system known as single- payer. Issues in the plan that were viewed to regulate competition were opposed by majority of members in the political divide. These proposals were viewed as being too big for the conservatives and for the liberals, too small. Those democrats who wished for a compromise found out that organized constituencies would not agree with what was being offered by the mainstream group. The older generation opposed it for it provided Medicare with no returns while unions viewed it as expensive health care plan which would raise taxes. This issue led to in-fighting that eventually leaked to the press leading the plan losing favor among a majority of the public (Klein, 2009).
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At that time there were various issues such as foreign policy crises and scandals in America that led to the administration being so distracted to put much emphasis on selling the idea of the reform plan. Much of the media was dominated by other issues and the public did not also get a chance to hear more about the benefits of the plan.
Failure of compromise within the congress
In the beginning of 1993, there seemed to be a form of consensus between the various principals, who had major proposals, that is; Bill Clinton, Chafee and cooper. It was hoped that if the president would compromise with the two principals, splitting differences of a couple of provision would be an easy task. In 1994 however, the political atmosphere changed with most of the opposition hindering the process of splitting differences. Most people were not of the idea of compromise succeeding the interest groups who opposed legislation. Republicans were eager to oppose the president while some democrats supported legislations that led to alienation of other supporters. The failure of compromise was also as a result of weaknesses in Chafee and Coopers proposals. Their proposals had inadequate financial sources that would have led to a disaster if implemented. Without unity in the congress which led to the failure of compromise within the congress, there was no way that the Clinton's plan would be legislated (Starr, (1994).
Recommendations for Barrack Obama
Barrack obama has an up hill task to ensure that his health care reform plan is fully legislated and avoid what happened to Clinton. He should ensure that the whole congress is involved in the drafting of the reform plan. In the case of Clinton, he and his executive branch were involved in most of the drafting which led to a lot of criticism and thus the plan's failure.
Obama should seek to gain the support of most of the industry players. He should ensure that much of the existing arrangements in the insurance sector remain intact. The former health reform plan failed on its attempts to change the structure of medical insurance companies.
Clinton's reform plan failed due to lack of congressional and public support. This was due to the fact that the one whole year was spent developing the bill before even finding time to inform the congress of its proposals for their evaluation. Obama, on the other hand, should try and inform the public and congress about various proposals in his reform plan for their evaluation and help correct mistakes along the way. This strategy will not only earn his plan public support but also ensure that a few causes of concern are corrected during the development period.
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President Obama should also sell his reform plan ideas to as many people as possible to ensure that he has enough support. He should not assume some sectors of the economy and under estimate the power of opposition to ensure that his health reform plan is successful implemented'
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