In 2011, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a set of modest reforms to the Medicare program proposed by Rep. Paul Ryan. In response, Democrats charged that Republicans were seeking to “end Medicare as we know it,” a claim that even liberal organs like PolitiFact called “the lie of the year.” But there’s a greater irony to Democrats’ Medicare rhetoric. In 1993, nearly 100 congressional Democrats introduced a bill that would have repealed Medicare altogether.
It all goes back to the last time Hillary Clinton lived in the White House, as the wife of President Bill Clinton. President Clinton had tasked Hillary with leading his effort to achieve universal coverage. In anticipation of that proposal, 97 Democrats—93 in the House and four in the Senate—introduced a single-payer bill called the “American Health Security Act.” The bill was co-sponsored by numerous Democratic stalwarts, including John Conyers (Mich.), Xavier Becerra (Calif.), Barney Frank (Mass.), Chuck Schumer (N.Y.), and future House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (Calif.).