One of the most prominent items on Clinton's legislative agenda was the result of a taskforce headed by Hillary Clinton, which was a health care reform plan aimed at achieving universal coverage via a national healthcare plan. Though initially well-received in political circles, it was ultimately doomed by well-organized opposition from conservatives, the American Medical Association, and the health insurance industry. However, John F. Harris, a biographer of Clinton's, states the program failed because of a lack of co-ordination within the White House. Despite his party holding a majority in Congress, the effort to create a national healthcare system ultimately died. It was the first major legislative defeat of Clinton's administration. Two months later, after two years of Democratic Party control, the Democrats lost control of Congress in the mid-term elections in 1994, for the first time in forty years.
The Clinton health care plan was a 1993 healthcare reform package proposed by the administration of President Bill Clinton and closely associated with the chair of the task force devising the plan, First Lady of the United States Hillary Rodham Clinton.
Bill Clinton had campaigned heavily on health care in the 1992 U.S. presidential election. The task force was created in January 1993, but its own processes were somewhat controversial and drew litigation. Its goal was to come up with a comprehensive plan to provide universal health care for all Americans, which was to be a cornerstone of the administration's first-term agenda. A major health care speech was delivered by President Clinton to the U.S. Congress in September 1993. The core element of the proposed plan was an enforced mandate for employers to provide health insurance coverage to all of their employees through competitive but closely-regulated health maintenance organizations.
Opposition to the plan was heavy from conservatives, libertarians, and the health insurance industry. The industry produced a much-talked-about television ad, "Harry and Louise", in an effort to rally public support against the plan. Democrats, instead of uniting behind the President's original proposal, offered a number of competing plans of their own. By September 1994, the final compromise Democratic bill was declared dead by Senate Majority Leader George J. Mitchell. Opponents of the plan continued to deride it in future years as "HillaryCare".
President Bill Clinton has sent health care legislation to Capitol Hill that is breathtaking in its scope. He strikes a responsive chord with most Americans when he condemns the current system as bureaucratic and wasteful, and when he urges a comprehensive reform of the $1 trillion health system-accounting for about one-seventh of the entire U.S. economy-based on the principles of security, simplicity, savings, choice, quality, and personal responsibility.
But although Clinton has stressed the need for simplicity and freedom from bureaucracy, his legislation offers anything but that. The Administration followed a 239-page draft, leaked by Members of Congress in September 1993, with a 1,342-page bill, the "Health Security Act." Emerging from the complex language of this huge bill is a massive top-down, bureaucratic command-and-control system that would meticulously govern virtually every aspect of the delivery and the financing of health care services for the American people. As The Economist of London observes, "Not since Franklin Roosevelt's War Production Board has it been suggested that so large a part of the American economy should suddenly be brought under government control .