Hillary Clinton has yet to announce whether she is running for president in 2016, but in an interview that aired Wednesday, Clinton outlined how she would run in favor of Obamacare “if [she] were a Democrat running for reelection in 2014.”
Clinton, who in the past has said she is both supportive of Obamacare and of fixes to change the law, said in an interview that Democrats “need to” run on President Barack Obama’s sweeping healthcare law.
“If I were a Democrat running for reelection in 2014, I would be posing a very stark choice to the voters of my district, or my state,” Clinton said. “If you want us to go back to the time when your sister with diabetes, or your husband with his heart condition, couldn’t get insurance at an affordable rate, then don’t vote for me, because I think it’s great that your sister and your husband now have insurance.”
The Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, has been a contentious issue since it was passed in 2010 without GOP support. Since then, many Republicans have used Obama’s signature domestic achievement to bludgeon Democrats in difficult races, causing some to distance themselves from the law.
During a private healthcare speech in February, Clinton backed efforts to fix Obamacare while also offering a full defense of the law.
Clinton said that Democrats should run on the law, she also said part of that campaign is to admit that they are willing to make “adjustment that need to be made” in the future.
“I think people should say, look, ‘We’re going to learn more about how it’s working, and if there are adjustments that need to be made as we go forward, wouldn’t you rather have somebody who wants to keep the good, and fix what’s not working, than somebody who wants to undermine it, and maybe throw it out,'” Clinton said. “These are very stark choices.”
Clinton’s position was starkly similar to what her husband, Bill Clinton, told Ifill at an event in May.
“What I advise the Democrats to do is talk about the good things that have happened under the bill, acknowledge the problems and say, ‘Let’s do what sensible people would do,'” Clinton said at a fiscal summit in Washington. “We had a problem we had to deal with. Albert Einstein couldn’t have done it perfectly the first time. Now let’s set a long-term repair process.”
Clinton’s history with healthcare reform dates back to the 1980s, when Bill Clinton was governor of Arkansas.
When Clinton was first lady, from 1993 to 2001, she spearheaded the Clinton White House’s unsuccessful effort to overhaul the health care system.
Since the start of Hillary Clinton’s book tour, the former secretary of state has been dogged by questions about whether or not she is out of touch because of comments she made about the state of her finances after leaving the White House in 2001.
Clinton rejected those calls in the interview, saying she had always “been reaching out” to other people, “whether it’s talking with our neighbors or going shopping or standing, talking to people in these bookstores and hearing what’s on their minds.”
At the start of her book tour, Hillary Clinton told ABC News that her family was “dead broke” when they left the White House in 2001. Although Clinton quickly looked to clean up her first slip-up on wealth a few days later in Chicago, the former secretary of state stepped in it again a week later during interview with The Guardian when she compared herself to other “truly” wealthy individuals.
“We pay ordinary income tax, unlike a lot of people who are truly well off, not to name names; and we’ve done it through dint of hard work,” Clinton said in the Guardian interview.
Republicans have seized on the comments, stating they show Clinton’s is removed from everyday issues facing Americans.
Clinton admitted that her comments were “inartful,” but said that people were taking “things out of context” and trying “to create some caricature.”
“I’m fully comfortable with who I am, what I stand for and what I’ve always stood for,” she said.
Hillary Clinton has been more open to answering questions about the prospect of her running for president in 2016 during her frenetic book tour over the last three weeks.
Clinton said, “I take seriously the passion that a lot of people approach me in book lines, and events, talking to me about this,” Clinton said about running for president. “I am not going to make a decision until I have a chance to really sit down and take stock of what I want to do for the rest of my life, and what I think I could uniquely bring to a presidential race.”
Among the considerations weighing on whether to run for president, Clinton said, was the fact she will be a grandmother sometime this fall.
“I want to feel and be present in that experience,” Clinton said about her daughter, Chelsea, having a baby. “I don’t want to be looking over my new grandchild’s shoulder, wondering what’s happening in state X or Y, I want to be fully engaged.”
Clinton has said in interviews around her book tour that she plans to make a decision toward the end of the year on whether to run for president, something she did unsuccessfully in 2008.
As to whether it would be “insane,” as the interviewer put it, to run for president again, Clinton said, “You have to be a little bit crazy to run for president.”