Health Care Double-Cross

A lifelong Democrat attacks Obama's reform

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In the reform battle's waning hours, a dyed-in-the-wool Democrat is slamming President Obama for prioritizing health care over unemployment. Robert Reich, Secretary of Labor under President Clinton and member of Obama's transition advisory board, says Obama learned little from the Clinton presidency:

If Obama and the Democrats lose Congress in the midterm elections, which is not a small possibility, it will be because the president learned only the most superficial lesson of the Clinton years. Health-care reform is critically important. But when one out of six Americans is unemployed or underemployed, getting the nation back to work is more so.

Reich, a frequent contributor at, has argued passionately for a health care overhaul. But with unemployment near 10%, he believes job creation is "more immediately urgent."

He squeezes in another shot at Obama for not taking on the pharmacuetical and insurance industries--a lapse he notes because it will fall on middle class families:

These extra costs will be borne by those Americans who will be required to buy insurance but won't qualify for federal assistance, along with Medicare beneficiaries who will be paying more and receiving less. These people may not know they're indirectly paying the costs of buying off these industries, but they'll know they're getting shafted.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.