Historical Perspective of Health Care Policies

Health care policy has been known to characterize both the President Clinton and President Obama's administrations. However, his campaign for the Health Care Security Act as the 1993 health care reform package was a significant effort that in some way influenced the success of Obama's health care reform in 2010 through passage of two Acts: the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act 2010 and Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act 2010.

Healthcare policy in the US has a long history, having been introduced in the congress in 1854 by a Bill For The Benefit Of Indigent Insane. However, major debates on the health care policy reforms have been noted throughout the 20th century and even in the 21st century (Nyhan, 2010). In the year 1992, Bill Clinton campaigned strongly on health care and after winning the presidential election, a task force was established to create a comprehensive plan that would ensure the provision of universal health care to all the citizens of America. This was the prime agenda of President Clinton's first term administration. A major element of this plan was to mandate the employers to provide health insurance to all their employees. It was met with stiff opposition from the health insurance industry, conservatives, and libertarians (Nyhan, 2010). The democrats also did not support the administration and instead provided alternative plans. This reform failed.

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On the other hand, Obama's administration turned to the congress to create the bill. At the same time, the Obama courted the health care industry, winning organizations that earlier opposed the Clinton's plan. This plan to reform health came to fruition in 2010 with the passage of the two Acts.

The context of the Health Care Policies

In the two administrations seeking the health care reform policy, the motivation of the policy was the need to lower the cost of health care. It had been found out that the US was spending more per capita income than other developed countries, yet it fell below these countries in several of the health care metrics, meaning the system was inefficient (Gelman, Lee and Ghitza, 2010). Additionally, America had substantial cases of under-insurance as well as noteworthy impending unfunded liabilities from the country's aging population and Medicare and Medicaid, the nation's social insurance programs. Consequently, the human and fiscal effects of these issues were the contexts upon which the health care reforms in the two administrations were sought.

The Social, Economic, and Political Environments of the Policies

Among the factors that determined the failure of Clinton's plan and success of Obama's plan are social, economic, as well as political influences. To start with, the proposal that was introduced by Clinton addressed almost every part of the health care. On the other hand, the Obama health care plan, although big and complicated, was narrower with much focus directed to the health insurance reform. Accordingly, Americans in 1994 believed that if Clinton's health bill was passed, they would have to shoulder its funding through the increased taxation, pay higher premiums, and be accessible to fewer choices of hospitals and doctors (Meckler, 2010). This economic perception among the people was different in Obama's plan because of its narrow scope.

In social terms, in 1994, the haves or the upper class, both the corporations and individuals viewed that coverage extended to all would reduce the quality of health care. It was not, therefore, in favor of the upper class (Nyhan, 2010). In the Obama's administration, the bill ensured realignment and the upper class as well as the lower class societies were in favor of the bill.

Lastly, Clinton's bill alienated many of those who would support it at the inception of the bill. Instead of the congress, Clinton's administration established a task force to make the bill. As a result, the bill lacked political back up from the congress and even the democrats and thus its failure. This was different with Obama's approach. The congress drafted the bill while the president sought support from the other relevant sectors and, hence, the success of the bill.

The Effectiveness of the Health Care Policies

In general, the health care reform plans in both cases were made in good faith, seeking to address the inefficiency of the health care system as well as to improve the accessibility of health care to all the citizens of America (Meckler, 2010). While Clinton's plan may be seen as a failure and, thus ineffective this is not entirely so. Obama's administration had a lot to learn from the failure of the Clinton's plan. They desisted from drawing up the bill without involvement of the congress. It also identified the parties that opposed Clinton's bill and courted them. Clinton's administration established the foundation while the Obama's administration has ensured the implementation of the health care policy. Having been passed into law, a number of aspects of health care, especially insurance has been streamlined, and the plan has been, therefore, effective.


In a summary, the health care policy has been an agenda for debate over decades with attention being focused on different areas at different times. President Clinton and President Obama's health care reform policies, however, have been the recent effort to address health care sector in the US. Clinton's health care plan did not succeed because of a number of social, economic and political factors. On the other hand, Obama's plan seems to have strengthened the weakness of Clinton's plan and succeeded in passing two Acts into law.



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