The Bill Clinton presidential library on Friday released thousands of pages of documents from the Clinton presidency, including a batch of nearly 300 pages related to the health care reform effort led by Hillary Clinton. This series of memos from 1993 offers a fascinating inside-baseball account of the White House's legislative strategy for passing health insurance reform. Anyone who has watched House of Cards would recognize the techniques (though there are no murders) presented in these memos: composing files on the past and current health care positions of every member of the House and Senate, setting up a health care "university" to educate lawmakers on key policy components, mounting a "massive public communications campaign," and coaxing -- that is, ego-stroking -- of individual lawmakers.
Much of this coaxing was to be done by the first lady. One memo noted that Rep. John Dingell, the powerful chair of the energy and commerce committee, was pessimistic about enacting comprehensive reform. "The best way to get Chairman Dingell back on board"is to make him feel that we need him (as we do)," an aide advised Hillary Clinton.
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