Clinton: ObamaCare was originally 'HillaryCare'

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Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary ClintonHillary Rodham ClintonWhy some Republican women won't be voting for Trump Black Lives Matter leader: Dem convention protests possible Cutting corners in a federal campaign is criminal MORE is out with a new defense of her healthcare record — rival Bernie SandersBernie SandersCutting corners in a federal campaign is criminal Sanders is only helping Trump by staying in the race 'Feel Bern' PAC comes under scrutiny 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."

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Clinton’s rift with Sanders over healthcare continued to deepen this week. While the Vermont senator stands by his single-payer plan, Clinton has dismissed the idea as politically impractical under the current Congress.

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."