Friday, January 18, 2008

Hillary's Task Force Schemes: P.S. Who is P.S.?

Captain's Quarters calls attention to the release of records of Hillary Clinton's National Task force on Health Care Reform obtained by Judicial Watch from the Clinton Presidential Library.

Here is one of the highlights:
• A June 18, 1993 internal Memorandum entitled, “A Critique of Our Plan,” authored by someone with the initials “P.S.,” makes the startling admission that critics of Hillary’s health care reform plan were correct: “I can think of parallels in wartime, but I have trouble coming up with a precedent in our peacetime history for such broad and centralized control over a sector of the economy…Is the public really ready for this?... none of us knows whether we can make it work well or at all…”

Though there were only 12 individuals on the President's Task Force (Les Aspin, Defense secretary, Lloyd Bentsen, Treasury secretary, Jesse Brown, VA secretary, Ronald H. Brown, Commerce secretary, Hillary Rodham Clinton, Judith Feder, deputy assistant secretary for health policy, Ira Magaziner, President Clinton's senior adviser for policy development, Leon Panetta, OMB director, Carol Rasco, White House domestic policy adviser, Robert B. Reich, Labor secretary, Alice Rivlin, OMB deputy director, and Donna E. Shalala, HHS secretary) the complete list of 511 staff members was initially kept secret, but was finally released on March 26, 1993.

According to the list of the full Task Force published in The Washington Post on March 30, 1993, there are two members of the staff with the initials 'P.S.'. One is Paul Starr, who is identified as a leader of the health task force staff. The Post gives special attention to 35 such leaders and describes Starr as follows:

Paul Starr. A professor of sociology at Princeton University, Starr heads the committee that is looking into short-term cost controls on physicians and hospitals. He is the author of "The Social Transformation of American Medicine," which won the Pulitzer Prize in 1984, and more recently "The Logic of Health Care Reform." He was an adviser to Harris Wofford of Pennsylvania in his successful bid for the Senate, in which health care was a pivotal issue.
The only other member of the 511-member list with the initials of 'P.S.' is Pamela Steele, of the Veterans Affairs. She is listed as just one of over 300 representatives from various federal agencies and is given no special attention in the Post's story.

One of the more chilling revelations from Judicial Watch is a memorandum from Senator Jay Rockefeller:

• A “Confidential” May 26, 1993 Memorandum from Senator Jay Rockefeller (D-WV) to Hillary Clinton entitled, “Health Care Reform Communications,” which criticizes the Task Force as a “secret cabal of Washington policy ‘wonks’” that has engaged in “choking off information” from the public regarding health care reform. The memorandum suggests that Hillary Clinton “use classic opposition research” to attack those who were excluded by the Clinton Administration from Task Force deliberations and to “expose lifestyles, tactics and motives of lobbyists” in order to deflect criticism. Senator Rockefeller also suggested news organizations “are anxious and willing to receive guidance [from the Clinton Administration] on how to time and shape their [news] coverage.”

Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton concludes:
“These documents paint a disturbing picture of how Hillary Clinton and the Clinton administration approached health care reform – secrecy, smears, and the misuse of government computers to track private and political information on citizens ... There are millions more documents that the Library has yet to release. The Clintons continue to play games and pretend they have nothing to do with this delay. The Clintons should get out of the way and authorize the release of these records now.”

No word yet on how Hillary Clinton responded to Rockefeller's suggestion of opposition research to engage in the personal destruction of critics of the health care plan.



Postscript on the Identity of P.S.

Further evidence that Paul Starr is the author P.S. can be found in the complete memorandum of June 18, 1993 posted on Judicial Watch's website. On pages 5-6, the author argues:

That's why I favor the establishment of statewide councils representing employers and consumers that would choose slates of nominees, from whom governors would pick."
In Perspectives: Design of Health Insurance Purchasing Cooperatives, Health Affairs Supplement ,1993, Paul Starr says (p. 62):
In one approach that I favor, states would create two statewide councils: one to represent employers by size and industry, the other to represent major labor and consumer organizations. Governors would appoint individuals nominated by these councils to serve on the regional HIPCs.

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|| headland, 10:25 AM

4 Comments:

headland, thanks for the good work. we at veracifier.com (home of josh marshall's TPMtv) read your work regularly. where are you based? are you interested in working with us on the primary coverage of your home state?

be in touch. and thanks for all the good work!

cheers,
raleigh@veracifier.com
Blogger Raleigh-Elizabeth, at January 18, 2008 at 12:02 PM  
Raleigh-Elizabeth. Thanks for the kind words. Your email didn't work. Please drop me a line at headland@live.com and I'll get right back to you.
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