[Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States: William J. Clinton (1993, Book II)]
[October 2, 1993]
[Pages 1646-1647]
[From the U.S. Government Publishing Office www.gpo.gov]

The President's Radio Address
October 2, 1993

    Good morning. This week the good will and hopefulness that 
surrounded the announcement of our health security plan continued to 
grow. A consensus is developing that our central goal, comprehensive 
health benefits for you and your family that can never be taken away, is 
now within reach and must be achieved. For the first time in our 
lifetimes, the question before Congress is no longer whether to provide 
health security but how.
    Something unique is happening here in Washington: A coalition is 
taking shape across political boundaries, a coalition concerned more 
with passing health care than with scoring political points. And when 
the Congress passes health care reform, it won't have a label that says 
Democrat or Republican, it will be delivered to you with a label that 
says made in America.
    This week as Congress began its deliberations, health care reform 
and the American people have had an extraordinary advocate on their 
side, the First Lady. Before, in our history, only Eleanor Roosevelt and 
Rosalynn Carter have testified before Congress. I'm proud of the 
intellect and compassion and the leadership Hillary is bringing to this 
issue and to our country. Her commitment to health care is a human 
issue. She says to find a solution, it must pass the ``mom test,'' 
something that she could explain to her mother and her mother would 
support. That certainly has cut through the heart of a very complex 
health care debate.
    During her testimony before the Senate Finance Committee this week, 
something extraordinary happened: Republican Senator James Jeffords of 
Vermont, a leading expert on health care, stepped forward and endorsed 
our plan. I'm sure that after the acrimony of the budget debate, this 
cooperative spirit comes as welcome news to all of you as it does to me. 
Solving health care must remain above politics. Indeed, I hope every one 
of our legislative efforts in the months ahead is done in the same 
bipartisan spirit.

[[Page 1647]]

    I've said since the beginning of this debate, I welcome--I need--
good ideas and options from everyone. No party, no person, no segment of 
the health care community owns all the good ideas. After all, it was a 
Republican President, Richard Nixon, who first recommended over 20 years 
ago extending health coverage by asking every employer to take 
responsibility for paying some of his employees' health care costs. A 
current Republican Senator, Bob Packwood of Oregon, sponsored that bill 
20 years ago.
    Already the fruits of bipartisan cooperation are visible. In just a 
few months, we've moved from deep alarm over health care to designing a 
proposal, to crafting a solution. As I said, we don't have all the 
answers, and we know that. But we have to find them, and we do have a 
    I believe this plan will work. It will guarantee comprehensive 
health benefits to every one of you. It's based on the notion of 
preserving and protecting what is best about American health care and 
fixing what has gone wrong.
    My goal is to make the world's finest private health care system 
work better and work for everyone. We've rejected a big Government 
solution. We've rejected broad-based taxes. We've insisted that small 
business be protected. And I embrace the compassionate American view 
that no one should go without health care.
    This plan will drastically cut the paperwork that now clogs the 
American health care system. It will maintain the highest quality health 
care, and it will retain your right to choose your doctors. In fact, for 
most of you, your choices in health care will increase, not decrease, if 
this plan passes.
    The plan will keep health care costs down by controlling spending, 
by providing free preventive care that keeps us healthy and saves money 
in the long run. It also asks all of us to take more responsibility for 
paying for a health care system that all of us use but only some of us 
pay for.
    We also ask everyone, every American, to take more responsibility 
for personal behavior. Just as insurance companies and doctors and 
lawyers and the Government must take more responsibility upon themselves 
to make the system work better, so must each individual. It is the 
common sense and shared values of our health security plan that are 
bringing people of all political persuasions to the cause.
    I watched some of Hillary's testimony. I wish I could have seen 
more. We spent a lot of time talking together about what she learned 
from the Congress and how we can make health care a reality for each of 
you. I think we've done the responsible thing by accepting this 
challenge, a challenge too long delayed, and by beginning a truly 
constructive bipartisan debate on what many have characterized as the 
most important piece of domestic legislation in a generation.
    And I believe that once we succeed in providing health security to 
each of you, every family will have a chance to prosper and dream again, 
freed from today's fears: freed from the fear that if you lose your job, 
you'll lose your health care; if your business goes down, you'll never 
have health care coverage; if you get sick and you really need it, you 
won't have health care. Those fears have to be done away with.
    As we move forward we'll continue to carry with us the indelible 
memory of the thousands of people we've talked to who have tangled with 
the health care system and lost, of the thousands who live in fear of 
losing their health care, and to the plight of so many of you who have 
played by the rules and lost to a system that often doesn't follow them. 
Once heard, no one forgets those voices.
    Thank you for making this a great beginning, and thanks for 

Note: The President spoke at 10:06 a.m. in the Oval Office at the White