John Breaux of Louisiana to make one concession after another to get Republican support, but it turned out she was right. If a state did not meet that deadline, the Secretary of Health and Human Services could withhold Federal money and take direct action to set up and operate the alliances.
Under these circumstances, national health-care reform didn't only seem possible; it had an air of "inevitability," the editor of the AMA's Journal wrote in Health plans would have to offer coverage to everyone without exclusions of preexisting conditions, and they would be paid according to the characteristics of the population they enrolled.
The reform coalition suffered from a disease often fatal in politics: cross-cutting cleavages. But those first steps need not be insignificant. The scale of the program and its regulatory features also caused sympathetic groups in the business community and opinion leaders in the media to think twice about support for reform.
Clinton advisor Ira Magaziner directed the efforts. In retrospect, the president would clearly have done better to identify himself with the conservative Democrats and moderate Senate Republicans to lock in support for reform from when they were offering it.
After Wofford's victory catapulted health care into the presidential race, even President George H. But the proposed legislation includes a "conscience clause," stating that doctors and hospitals need not perform procedures to which they object because of religious belief or moral conviction.
So compromise would have to come in the later stages of congressional deliberation. The harder question is whether President Clinton should have moved at the outset toward the conservative Democrats led by Representative Jim Cooper and the Senate Republicans who initially followed Chafee's lead.