President Bill Clinton gave his two cents on the Senate's health care reform bill today. His message: it will be a "colossal blunder" if health reform falls apart amid liberal opposition to the Senate bill.

"Does this bill read exactly how I would write it? No. Does it contain everything everyone wants? Of course not. But America can't afford to let the perfect be the enemy of the good," Clinton said in a statement released by his office.

"Take it from someone who knows: these chances don't come around every day. Allowing this effort to fall short now would be a colossal blunder -- both politically for our party and, far more important, for the physical, fiscal, and economic health of our country," Clinton said.

Clinton, of course, is the last American president to try to overhaul the nation's health care system, and many contrasts have been drawn between his approach and Obama's--most notably, Obama's decision to let Congress hammer out the specifics of reform packages.

Clinton is a centrist Democrat, so his stance is not necessarily surprising: the hue and cry over the Senate bill has come from progressives in Congress and at prominent labor unions and interest groups based in Washington, who are outraged that Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT) succeeded in stripping the provision to let 55-64 year-olds buy coverage through Medicare, which was the last remnant of anything resembling public option in the Senate bill.

For Clinton, however, that development is not so terrible that the bill should be abandoned, as former Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean has called for. See Clinton's full statement below:

"America stands at a historic crossroads. At last, we are close to making real health insurance reform a reality. We face one critical, final choice, between action and inaction. We know where the path of inaction leads to: more uninsured Americans, more families struggling to keep up with skyrocketing premiums, higher federal budget deficits, and health costs so much higher than any other country's they will cripple us economically.

Our only responsible choice is the path of action. Does this bill read exactly how I would write it? No. Does it contain everything everyone wants? Of course not. But America can't afford to let the perfect be the enemy of the good.

And this is a good bill: it increases the security of those who already have insurance and gives every American access to affordable coverage; and contains comprehensive efforts to control costs and improve quality, with more information on best practices, and comparative costs and results. The bill will shift the power away from the insurance companies and into the hands of consumers.

Take it from someone who knows: these chances don't come around every day. Allowing this effort to fall short now would be a colossal blunder -- both politically for our party and, far more important, for the physical, fiscal, and economic health of our country."

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