Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary ClintonHillary Rodham ClintonClinton defends April Ryan, Rep. Maxine Waters in speech Lobbying world Trump puts foreign investors first by supporting the Republican tax plan MORE is out with a new defense of her healthcare record — rival Bernie SandersBernie SandersIn California race, social justice wing of Democrats finally comes of age Sanders to headline progressive 'People's Summit' The Hill's 12:30 Report MORE may have helped write ObamaCare, but it was her idea first.
"It was called HillaryCare before it was called ObamaCare,” Clinton told a crowd of supporters at a country club in Vinton, Iowa. “I don't want to start over."
The debate is reigniting healthcare wars within the Democratic Party.
While the single-payer idea is popular among Democrats overall, more seasoned supporters warn such a plan has no chance of passing Congress. Veterans of the ObamaCare debate fear that raising the prospect of a single-payer system will distract from improving the existing law — a point that Clinton raised during her clash with Sanders at a Democratic presidential debate on Sunday.
Clinton offered some proof of that Thursday, criticizing Sanders for failing to make traction on his single-payer proposal during more than 25 years in Congress.
"He never got even a single vote in the House or a single Senate co-sponsor. Not one,” Clinton said at a rally at Simpson College on Thursday, according to The Washington Post. "You hear a promise to build a whole new system, but that’s not what you get. … You’ll get gridlock and an endless wait for advances that never come."
Clinton has had to tread carefully on ObamaCare throughout her campaign: Democrats support the law but are increasingly willing to acknowledge that it doesn't address the rising out-of-pocket costs.
Clinton’s criticism of a single-payer plan risks putting her out of step with the Democratic grassroots, something Sanders alluded to Sunday when he said the former secretary of State was “sounding like a Republican."