Barney Frank Says Obama's Health-Care Push Was a 'Mistake'

The outgoing and outspoken Massachusetts Democrat argues that financial reform was a more pressing matter.

obamafrank.banner.reuters.jpg
Barney Frank (right) with Sen. Chris Dodd and President Obama at the signing of the financial-reform bill. Reuters

Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass., said he advised President Obama against taking up health-care reform following a special election in 2010 that changed Democrats' fortunes in the Senate, saying that he should have instead turned his focus to financial reform.

Frank referenced former President Bill Clinton and his failed health-care plan from the 1990s. "Obama made the same mistake Clinton made," Frank said in a wide-ranging interview with New York magazine. "When you try to extend health care to people who don't have it, people who have it and are on the whole satisfied with it get nervous."

The outgoing representative from Massachusetts added that after Republican Scott Brown won former Sen. Edward M. Kennedy's seat, breaking Democrats' filibuster-proof majority, Obama should have backed down: "I think we paid a terrible price for health care. I would not have pushed it as hard. As a matter of fact, after Scott Brown won, I suggested going back. I would have started with financial reform but certainly not health care," Frank said.

He said that if the president had followed his advice, "you could have gotten some pieces of it."

Presented by

Jonathan Miller is a staff reporter for the Daily Briefings Team at National Journal.

The Man Who Owns 40,000 Video Games

A short documentary about an Austrian gamer with an uncommon obsession

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register.

blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

The 86-Year-Old Farmer Who Won't Quit

A filmmaker returns to his hometown to profile the patriarch of a family farm

Video

Riding Unicycles in a Cave

"If you fall down and break your leg, there's no way out."

Video

Carrot: A Pitch-Perfect Satire of Tech

"It's not just a vegetable. It's what a vegetable should be."

Video

An Ingenious 360-Degree Time-Lapse

Watch the world become a cartoonishly small playground

Video

The Benefits of Living Alone on a Mountain

"You really have to love solitary time by yourself."

More in Politics

Just In