The Republican National Committee is tying prospective Democratic presidential contender Hillary Clinton to ObamaCare in a new memo as Clinton addresses a healthcare industry conference on Wednesday.
Clinton is speaking at the annual conference of the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society in Florida on Wednesday.
In the memo, the RNC argues that Clinton’s healthcare reform proposal from her 2008 run for president was “ObamaCare on steroids.”
It points to comments Clinton made while campaigning about her proposal that align closely with many of ObamaCare’s provisions.
Clinton had left the door open to garnishing wages or implementing a tax to get people enrolled in healthcare coverage, which the memo cites as evidence she’s “a longtime proponent of targeting the wages of hard-working Americans to pay for health care.”
The RNC also charges that “Clinton may have even made having insurance a condition of employment,” and draws comparisons between the employer mandate included in Clinton’s plan and ObamaCare.
And it compares Clinton’s proposal for a best-practices board to fund and publicize research to lower costs with the controversial Independent Payment Advisory Board, the governmental agency tasked with making recommendations on lowering costs that Republicans say engages in "rationing care."
Perhaps most damning, the memo charges that Clinton made a claim similar to the one made by President Obama, which has since been labeled “Lie of the Year” by independent fact-checkers, that Americans could keep their healthcare plans under ObamaCare. Millions of Americans have lost their coverage under the law, and Republicans have drawn on that as evidence that the law has done more harm than good, and that Democrats used deception to pass it.
The connections are speculative, as Clinton’s proposal was never implemented.
But it’s clear Republicans are going to point to her efforts to push healthcare reform in the 1990s, as well as her role in helping pass the current law, as evidence she not only supports ObamaCare but would go further if she had the chance.
Democrats, however, pushed back against the memo, citing Clinton's previous work on health care and arguing the memo was simply "desperate."
"From expanding healthcare benefits to National Guard members and reservists as Senator, to increasing healthcare coverage for millions of children through the creation of SCHIP as First Lady, to expanding rural healthcare access as the First Lady of Arkansas, Hillary Clinton’s strong and expansive record on healthcare speaks for itself," said Adrienne Elrod, spokeswoman for Correct the Record, the 2016-centric arm of the Democratic super PAC American Bridge.
"This is just another desperate and ineffective attempt by the right wing to distract from Hillary Clinton’s long record of supporting working families.”
Though polling has shown Americans still largely disapproving of the law, Democrats believe they’ll ultimately come out on the right side of history after the kinks get worked out and Americans begin to reap the benefits. It remains to be seen whether that prediction will come to pass in time for the 2016 elections, or at all.
—This post was updated at 2:15 p.m. to reflect comment from Correct the Record.