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Clinton: 'It was called HillaryCare before it was called Obamacare'

By Ann Marie Awad   |   Jan. 22, 2016 at 3:47 PM
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VINTON, Iowa, Jan. 22 (UPI) -- Hillary Clinton has been taking increasing credit for the Affordable Care Act in a bid to discredit the healthcare policy of opponent Sen. Bernie Sanders.

At a campaign stop Thursday in Vinton, Iowa, she told supporters: "It was called Hillarycare before it was called Obamacare. I don't want to start over again, I don't want to rip up this accomplishment and begin this contentious debate all over again."

Bloomberg Politics reported Obamacare actually has stronger roots in Romneycare -- the healthcare reform initiated by former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney during his time in the statehouse.

By contrast, the healthcare reform plan put forward by Clinton's husband in 1993 was far more overreaching than the Affordable Care Act, and in fact more similar to Sanders' plan for single-payer. The Clinton Health Security Act, as it was called, did not even make it to a vote in the Democratic-led Congress.

However, the reform Hillary Clinton proposed during the 2008 presidential election was similar to Romneycare.

"That said, I think the success of the ACA would not have been possible without some of the key lessons learned during the Clinton era debates," said Jonathan Gruber, a healthcare economist and MIT professor who advised the Romney and Obama reform efforts. "So she gets important credit for setting the political groundwork."

It has been a constant refrain from Clinton, who has accused Sanders of planning to dismantle Obamacare to replace it with Medicare for all. Clinton has also claimed that Sanders, who proposed the plan during his time in the Senate, could not get the idea to take off.

"Sen. Sanders has been in Congress for 25 years," she said at a rally at Simpson College. "He never got even a single vote in the House or a single Senate co-sponsor. Not one."

The Washington Post reported the single-payer idea has long been popular among Democrats. However, The Hill reported that Democrats who weathered the Obamacare debates fear that talk of another reform could distract from efforts to further improve upon the Affordable Care Act.

Healthcare -- along with foreign policy -- has been an issue the Clinton camp has focused on in recent days as it tries to discount Sanders' preparedness for the White House. This comes in the 11th-hour stretch just before the Iowa caucuses on Feb. 1.

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