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Hillary's Past Leadership Failure in Health Care Repeated In Plan for Universal Insurance Company Prosperity.

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Hillary’s Past Leadership Failure in Health Care Repeated In Plan for Universal Insurance Company Prosperity.

Hillary Clinton frequently portrays herself as “ready on day one.”  In fact, her “Health Care” platform proves she has no better skills today about how to lead health care change than she had in 1993, when her ineptness destroyed the chance to reform U.S. health care.

Recall those heady days of 1992-93, when Bill Clinton took office on the wave of national disgust over George H.W. Bush’s ballooning deficit and shallow world view.  As a health care executive, I was thrilled to think that U.S. health care might soon become more comprehensive in scope and funded far more rationally.

On January 25, 1993, President Clinton announced the formation of The President's Task Force on National Health Reform. The job of the Task Force, he said, was to "prepare health care reform legislation to be submitted to Congress within one hundred days of our taking office." He also announced that Hillary would head the task force and that Ira Magaziner would be its day-to-day operating head.

Well, that was how it started.  Never mind that Hillary’s only related job experiences were as congressional staff attorney and partner in a private law firm.  Forget that Ira Magaziner was a “business” consultant, not a health policy expert, not even a provider.  Ah, we had such naïve hopes!

Hillary and Magaziner Were Blind-Sided by Predictable Reaction of Vested Interests

Any leader, executive or manager understands that planning and implementing organizational change are among the primary challenges of leadership.  Innovation, anticipating issues, co-opting parties with differing perspectives, finding winnable compromises, shaping coalitions for change—these are all bread-and-butter skills that differentiate real leaders from “bosses”.

But in 1993 Hillary Clinton and Ira Magaziner chose to exclude any physician, hospital, insurance and pharmaceutical industry players from their preliminary discussions.  Guess what?  Faced with exclusion from the discussions, these powerful industries marshaled massive advertising and lobbying campaigns to protect their vested interests.

The resulting debacle was both predictable and avoidable.  Experienced leaders would have anticipated and planned for the inevitable reaction, but not Hillary and Ira.  Instead, they were flattened by the “Harry & Louise” ads and the ridiculous phrase, “They choose, we lose.”

Hillary and Magaziner Were Blind-Sided AGAIN by Predictable Resistance from Congressional Interests

Inside Washington, Hillary & Ira Magaziner similarly failed to implement a plan for reform.  For example, they were blind-sided by Sen. Robert Byrd, whom they should have prepared for the omnibus reconciliation budget approach they chose to use, and they were again blind-sided by Rep. Pete Stark’s (Ways & Means) temper tantrum when he was briefed on their fait accompli financing plan.  Rather than consulting Congressional power brokers, Hillary and Ira naively tried the amateur’s end-run, and predictably failed in their implementation.

By the way, Hillary had three consultants helping [sic] her with this debacle in 1993:  Mandy Grunwald, James Carville, and Paul Begala.  Sound familiar, right?

Today’s Plan Institutionalizes Insurance Industry Costs, Avoids Funding Reforms, And Leaves Vested Interests in Complete Control

Hillary’s plan for health care includes very few health-related elements.  Instead, its basic focus is on keeping your insurance plan, if you like it.  Her only “big idea” is to offer the Federal Employee Health Benefits Plan (FEHBP) to all Americans—through commercial insurance brokers, of course.  (But that was really John Edwards’ big idea.)

The few medically relevant points in the plan are quoted in these sample phrases from Hillary’s health care platform ( below:

(1) “Providers: will work collaboratively with patients and businesses to deliver high-quality, affordable care;” 

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I am a progressive activist. After 28 years in health care management I left in disgust at the mess that commercial health insurance companies have created. I must work to live (self-employed) and enjoy performing with several classical & jazz (more...)
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