Principle over Politics? The Domestic Policy of the George H. W. Bush Presidency

By Richard Himelfarb; Rosanna Perotti | Go to book overview

Discussant: Burton J. Lee III

This is a tough session. There are going to be no winners on any of these issues, and President Bush was very aware of that. He was very, very far from an absentee president. I don’t think anybody could have possibly worked harder at his job than President Bush, studying every issue in almost Carter-like fashion. At Camp David on the weekends, he was up at 5 o’clock in his library studying these issues.

He was not an absentee president, but what you learn down in Washington is that the president is not a king. The president has virtually no ability to do anything in Washington without the permission of the Congress. Now, most presidents gravitate late in their careers to foreign affairs because that is where they have some authority. We’re talking about domestic issues here. Ed Derwinski mentioned the antagonism within Congress when we were there. We had a heavy Democratic majority to fight, and Mitchell and Gephardt were very dedicated opponents of President Bush, and even in the far reaches of my office down in the White House, I could feel the frank unpleasantness there.

Now, let me take the four speakers and make some comments. Lou Sullivan’s tenure at HHS was marked by the fact that he had to approach the health care financing problem. It was the most important thing we had to deal with. I am not going to go into it in any detail at all because we have Gail Wilensky and Bill Roper, who are infinitely more sophisticated in this. I’ll give you a simple equation, though: Whenever you look at health care financing, you have to balance cost, access, and quality. Now, you have a beautiful example of what’s happened with the rush to control costs. The HMOs are now giving you drive-by mastectomies and going home after you deliver babies after a couple of hours. They are sending cardiac care people home in two or three days after open-heart surgery. A hip goes home in two or three days. I am a clinician, and I’ve spent my life taking care of patients, and I can tell you that this isn’t going to last long because you, the patients, are going to massively retaliate against this approach to cost control.

Why didn’t we do more about it from the beginning? It was a subject of conversation between all of us in John Sununu’s office on a weekly or a daily basis. Why did we not do more? You have to look at the money. The focus here at Hofstra in most of the meetings I have been to have been on this budget thing of 1990, have been on the problems with cost controls—in every aspect of our government spending. When you’re talking about producing the kind of health care access that the public wants—and that, hey, we wanted—you’re talking about hundreds of billions. And we have cabinet officers fighting in the cabinet room for 10 percent of that. We don’t have the money to do that. And as you can see, the Clinton administration—if you can call what they have done progress, I would disagree with you. This HMO situation now has robbed quality out of the health care delivery system. An aphorism: Action in any given direction does not equate with progress.

-285-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this book

This book has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this book

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Principle over Politics? The Domestic Policy of the George H. W. Bush Presidency
Table of contents

Table of contents

Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen
/ 452

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.