With Time Running Out in Iowa, Clinton Throws a Hail Mary

Her attack on Bernie Sanders’ health plan didn’t work. Now she’s taking credit for the past and future of Obamacare.

Gage Skidmore/Planet Pix/Zuma

Fight disinformation: Sign up for the free Mother Jones Daily newsletter and follow the news that matters.


After her attempts to derail her rival Bernie Sanders’ surging campaign by deriding his “Medicare-for-all” plan fell horribly flat, Hillary Clinton is changing tactics to try to win over voters ahead of Monday’s caucuses here in Iowa, issuing a full-throated defense of Obamacare—and painting herself as its architect.

“Before it was called Obamacare, it was called Hillarycare,” she told an audience at Grand View University in Des Moines on Friday. Clinton’s rally at the university comes as Sanders has built a dominant lead among younger voters in the state. Clinton delivered a barnstormer on Friday in her bid to catch up among this demographic.

But much of Clinton’s speech dwelled on history that many of the students in her audience are too young to remember. Clinton recalled one of her greatest successes, passing the Children’s Health Care Program (CHIP) as first lady. After the Bill Clinton administration failed to pass health care reform, Clinton said, she turned to the plight of children without insurance.

Clinton recalled speaking to a man in Cleveland who couldn’t find anyone to sell him insurance for his two daughters with cystic fibrosis. One insurance seller had told the man, “We don’t insure burning houses.”

Clinton warned her audience about the stakes for Obamacare in this election. “If they get a Republican president, the Affordable Care Act will be gone,” she said. “They have promised, they have tried, it will end.”

The former secretary of state said that she and Sanders “share the same goal. We want to get to universal coverage.” But, she added, “I want to build on what we have achieved…He wants us to start over.”

Clinton brought a woman on stage tell her family’s health care story. The woman’s daughter had been diagnosed with brain cancer, and her treatments were covered under the Affordable Care Act because she could stay on her mother’s plan. Later, both mother and daughter, both with pre-existing conditions, could purchase health care on the exchange. Obamacare “was a great gift to our family,” the woman said.

Implicit in the narrative Clinton was trying to build: Elect me, or it could go away.

LET’S TALK ABOUT OPTIMISM FOR A CHANGE

Democracy and journalism are in crisis mode—and have been for a while. So how about doing something different?

Mother Jones did. We just merged with the Center for Investigative Reporting, bringing the radio show Reveal, the documentary film team CIR Studios, and Mother Jones together as one bigger, bolder investigative journalism nonprofit.

And this is the first time we’re asking you to support the new organization we’re building. In “Less Dreading, More Doing,” we lay it all out for you: why we merged, how we’re stronger together, why we’re optimistic about the work ahead, and why we need to raise the First $500,000 in online donations by June 22.

It won’t be easy. There are many exciting new things to share with you, but spoiler: Wiggle room in our budget is not among them. We can’t afford missing these goals. We need this to be a big one. Falling flat would be utterly devastating right now.

A First $500,000 donation of $500, $50, or $5 would mean the world to us—a signal that you believe in the power of independent investigative reporting like we do. And whether you can pitch in or not, we have a free Strengthen Journalism sticker for you so you can help us spread the word and make the most of this huge moment.

payment methods

LET’S TALK ABOUT OPTIMISM FOR A CHANGE

Democracy and journalism are in crisis mode—and have been for a while. So how about doing something different?

Mother Jones did. We just merged with the Center for Investigative Reporting, bringing the radio show Reveal, the documentary film team CIR Studios, and Mother Jones together as one bigger, bolder investigative journalism nonprofit.

And this is the first time we’re asking you to support the new organization we’re building. In “Less Dreading, More Doing,” we lay it all out for you: why we merged, how we’re stronger together, why we’re optimistic about the work ahead, and why we need to raise the First $500,000 in online donations by June 22.

It won’t be easy. There are many exciting new things to share with you, but spoiler: Wiggle room in our budget is not among them. We can’t afford missing these goals. We need this to be a big one. Falling flat would be utterly devastating right now.

A First $500,000 donation of $500, $50, or $5 would mean the world to us—a signal that you believe in the power of independent investigative reporting like we do. And whether you can pitch in or not, we have a free Strengthen Journalism sticker for you so you can help us spread the word and make the most of this huge moment.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate