President Clinton Monday rejected the notion that Congress can't pass a health-reform bill covering all Americans, saying a scaled-down bill is not an acceptable solution.
"We should not walk away from this Congress without a commitment to cover everyone," the president said in an interview on NBC.Clinton spoke a day after Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan, chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, said there's no chance Congress will pass a bill guaranteeing health care for all Americans. Moynihan said it's more likely that Congress would enact a scaled-down plan with the potential of insurance for everyone within 10 years.
"It doesn't have to be done tomorrow," Clinton said. "It ought to be phased in over a period of just a few years, but we ought not to walk away without a bill that provides health care to all Americans."
Some measures in Congress envision insuring 91 percent of Americans. Clinton said, "I really don't believe it is a solution."
Clinton was caught off guard during the interview by a woman from Parkridge, Ill., who said she had been a classmate 30 years ago with Hillary Rodham Clinton at Maine South High School. She asked if they could have their class reunion at the White House.
"That's a decision for her to make, but I'll bet you she'd like to welcome you here at the White House," the president said. "Both of us would like that very much." He said he was trying to arrange to have his own 30th high school reunion at the White House.