Keeping Up With Hillary Since 1992.

The Hillary Clinton Quarterly has been keeping up with Hillary's career since 1992 when she became First Lady. As Secretary of State, Hillary carries out the President's foreign policies through the State Department and the Foreign Service of the United States. She was sworn in as the 67th Secretary of State of the United States on January 21, 2009.

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Hillary Clinton's first Speech About Health Care Reform.


On June 18, 1993, First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton addressed a panel of governors at the Woodstock Town Hall in Woodstock, Vermont, as part of the Democratic Governors' Association annual issues conference. The Hillary Clinton Quarterly attended the meeting and brought along its tape recorder. The following is a verbatim transcript of Mrs. Clinton's remarks. Due to space limitations, we have not included the First Lady's introductory remarks to the governors and some references to specific state programs.


While many news outlets continue to speculate about specific details of the health care proposal, Mrs. Clinton's remarks were clearly meant to establish the broad communications themes that will be used in the months ahead to sell the benefits of the program to voters. Three themes stand out in particular: health care security, personal responsibility and state participation.

-- Frank Marafiote


Address by Hillary Rodham Clinton
to the Democratic Governors' Association

I'd like to take a few minutes to talk about the process we have undertaken to improve the country's health care system, and to talk about the fundamental goals of our reform.

Just as Governor Dean (of Vermont) has already said, we tried to pull together from across our country people from every walk of life, every kind of experience, who knew what the problem was, and had experienced it first hand. We felt strongly that state government had to be represented in that process. Many of these governors, and many others, sent staff members to work with us, came in themselves to attend meetings, gave us the benefit of their deliberations as they drafted legislation, worked with legislators and with groups in their home states. We've been meeting on a regular basis, and we have found, as you might guess, that our process has been improved because of the contributions from the state and local level.

We've held more than 1,000 meetings with people who have a particular point of view on health care reform, because just about everyone in this country does have a stake in making sure we do it right. And it's been interesting to me to see how willing people have been to put aside their own particular point of view to try to look at the whole, because it is unlikely we will -- or anyone could -- come up with a proposal that would satisfy everybody. Everybody will have to move a little bit to get to the point where the whole will be bigger than the sum of its parts. Many people have been willing to do just that in our efforts to craft this proposal.

We have also been working hard to educate ourselves and the American people about what is at stake. When people understand how the health care crisis impacts on them personally, not just in terms of whether or not they have insurance, or whether their insurance this year costs the same as it did last year, or whether they fear losing insurance because of something beyond their control like a pre-existing condition or their inability to change jobs, or even whether they stand scared on the precipice of the next health care disaster because they don't have insurance -- when they begin to see their personal situation in context with what is going on in the broader community, then we make real progress so that everyone understands how the pieces of this fit together. That is the kind of educational process that we are engaged in now, and each of you is a part of it.

It's important, as I walk down later this afternoon this beautiful street I rode up to come to this meeting, to know that I will pass store after store after store -- some of the people working in those stores will have insurance, down the block some will not. If a medical emergency happens later this afternoon, the person will be taken to the nearest hospital without regard to that. The person will then be given the care that is needed for that emergency. Because it is not fair to say that people go completely without care in our country. They get care, but often only in an emergency, only when it's become more expensive than it should have. And regardless of whether that person had the insurance to take care of that emergency, it will be paid for by those of us who do -- those of us who carry private insurance, those of us who have employers who pay for it, those of us who have government assistance. That is one of the reasons why when one looks at a hospital bill you're sometimes struck by the fact that that aspirin was charged to you for $20. It's not because it's worth $20; it's to take care of those people who were taken care of who didn't have compensation.

When people begin to understand how we are all in this together, how today is not at all secure with respect to what we will have tomorrow, then the education process really takes hold. Because the most important thing that I have found as I've travelled around the country, no matter who I've talked with, is security. That's what people want whether they think they have it now, or whether they never have -- they want the security to know that their primary and preventive health care needs will be taken care of, and that their acute and chronic needs will be taken care of.

This is the key to what kind of health care reform we have to offer to the American people. Because what we have to be able to say at the end of this process is that if we enact the President's proposal, those millions of Americans, nearly 40 million now, who do not have any insurance, will have health security, and that those millions more who have some insurance, but not enough if a real emergency comes, will have security. And, most importantly, the majority of us who do have some insurance who feel that we have taken care of ourselves through our own efforts and that of our employers -- we can rest assured that we will have it next year, and the year after, and the year after that, no matter who we work for, no matter how sick we might become, no matter who we marry or the state of the health of the child that we bear, we will all be secure. We have to make it possible for every American who works for a living, who pays the bills, who takes care of raising their family, who pays the taxes, that they do not have to fear going without insurance and health security.

Once the new health care system is up and running, every American citizen and those who are permanent residents in this country will get a health security card. That card will guarantee all Americans a comprehensive package of benefits, no matter where they work, where they live, how old they are, or whether they have ever been sick. The benefits package will emphasize primary and preventive health care. We have to begin to redress the imbalance that has been allowed to develop in our health care system where we have the most highly sophisticated health care available anywhere in the world, so that you could with great ease and comfort of mind know that you can get a heart bypass, but you could not be sure that you will be able to get your child adequately immunized. We need to reverse that, to not do anything that endangers the quality of the very top of our health care system, but to build up the base so that we can provide more services and save more money because we will allocate our resources better.

Second, we are going to make sure that with that health card that guarantees those benefits packages, we will be bringing costs under control. You see, everyday what happens is that health care is priced out of reach of many Americans. Many of you have seen your own personal costs, your businesses' costs, your states' costs, get driven out of sight. I know that Florida's health care costs, for example, have quadrupled in the last 12 years. And that is happening all over the country. This forces us as individuals, as businesses, as states, and as the federal government to absorb more and more red ink. It forces many segments of the health care system to shift costs wherever they can find those dollars. That's what leads to the $20 aspirin. All of us bear the burden. If left unchecked, health care costs will continue to hurt our families, bankrupt our businesses, and our state budgets, and drive the federal deficit ever and ever higher.

We will have to rein-in health care costs in several ways. We will have to get rid of incentives for doctors to do more tests and procedures. Instead, we will create a system that encourages cost-effective, high quality care, where doctors and patients can again be at the center of the relationship, and where decisions can be made not on how something will be reimbursed, but on whether a doctor believes it is best for a patient. We will have to reduce the bureaucracy and micro-management that absorbs billions of dollars out of our health care system, and that so many of you complained about because it adds unnecessary costs. We will have to tell health care institutions and providers that we all must learn to live within a budget.

Continued. . .



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