Hillary’s Legislative Czar Leaving Senate Office But Nobody Really Leaves Hillaryland

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laurie rubiner.jpg
Laurie Rubiner, Legislative Director on Hillary Clinton‘s Senate Staff, is departing her position by the end of the year — i.e., in two weeks.
Rubiner has been one of the reasons why Hillary Clinton’s Senate legislative profile has been praised by so many. Clinton gets high marks from nearly everyone for how she has worked the levers of the Senate’s institutional machinery to achieve policy and political traction.
Laurie Rubiner, a former senior health policy adviser to Senator John Chafee (R-RI) and was the first Director of the New America Foundation‘s Health Care Program, shared in an email that she was going to be the new Executive Director of a new policy center in Washington affiliated with the NGO, Malaria No More.
Rubiner is Hillary Clinton’s long serving legislative director, having served for three years.
According to a friend, “she is working 100% until the very end. She is literally in Iowa at this very moment (today), doing surrogate work as one of Hillary Clinton’s primary health care advisors.” This friend who is close to the central nerve center of the Hillary Clinton operation stated:

It’s no coincidence, and it was noticed in people who follow the issue, that Hillary Clinton announced $1 billion to cure malaria by 2012 only days after Laurie told Senator Clinton what she would be doing. . .

This is an excerpt from the email Rubiner shared with associates recently:

Dear Friends and Colleagues:
I wanted to let you know that at the end of the year I will be leaving the Clinton office to be Executive Director of a new policy center in Washington DC devoted to putting us on the path to eradicating malaria.
Affiliated with Malaria No More in New York, the Washington policy center will be tasked with building the political will and financial support necessary to end deaths from malaria, the number one killer of children under five in sub-Saharan Africa.
It has been an honor and a privilege to serve as Senator Clinton’s Legislative Director for the last three years, and I will miss her and her wonderful and extraordinarily capable staff. But this was an opportunity that I felt was a once in a lifetime chance to make a tremendous difference in the lives of millions of children and I simply could not pass it up. . .
Laurie Rubiner
Legislative Director
Office of Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton

I have previously written about Laurie Rubiner’s formidable intellectual and policy skills — and these were noted in a major profile of Rubiner and her influence on Hillary Clinton’s health care plan in the New York Times. Not only was the profile interesting in profiling Clinton’s legislative and health policy czar, it was refreshing to see that Hillary Clinton herself had the confidence to allow such a high profile piece to be done on a member of her staff.
There will no doubt be much speculation about what Rubiner’s departure means for the Clinton camp which is a couple of weeks from the Iowa Caucuses — as Rubiner has been one of the inner circle players in “Hillaryland.” I have talked to insiders though who have said that there is no drama here at all. One observer said “this is the time of politics and not policy, and Laurie Rubiner is a policy addict.” Another friend stated that “Laurie ‘agonized’ for months, but her love of health care (second only to HRC’s, and the basis of their close bond) won out. Laurie had seen the Health Care plan through it’s development and successful introduction, so she felt it was a good time.”
Rubiner — who is known to be one of the few insiders who “talks real” with Clinton — is going to remain part of Hillary’s circle of trusted counselors.
In fact, a prominent Hillary Clinton spear-carrier reported to me:

. . .I would just note that many people leave Hillaryland and then come back — including Neera [Tanden] who went to the DCCC, CAP; Howard [Wolfson] who went to DCCC, Glover Park; and Patti [Solis Doyle] who went to Glover Park, etc.
Nobody every really leaves Hillaryland.”

In addition to the comments above, I was told that Hillary Clinton relies on Rubiner for tough-minded policy counsel and straight talk and definitely would have liked to keep her through this period. In addition, this source stated that if “Hillary captures the White House, President Hillary Clinton will want Laurie with her.”
Truth in advertising — Laurie Rubiner is a former colleague of mine at the New America Foundation — and everything I have written about her powerful political, policy, and intellectual skills has probably been understated.

— Steve Clemons

Comments

27 comments on “Hillary’s Legislative Czar Leaving Senate Office But Nobody Really Leaves Hillaryland

  1. Kathleen says:

    Speaking of opposition research, etc….. did anyone ever see or hear tell anymore about that rumor of John Edwards having an affair with his videographer??? I never saw a word about it anywhere, but here….which I consider very odddddd, since this is not a gossippy place….makes one wonder about sources, leaks, grapevines…

    Reply

  2. Carroll says:

    Posted by karenk at December 20, 2007 04:27 PM
    >>>>>>>>>>
    And let me add that Hillary and all the rest should be talking to the people like yourself who are/were in the front lines…..if they are on the up and up about getting decent and affordable health care to people.
    The ones in the front line are the ones who know what is going on.

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  3. Carroll says:

    Posted by karenk at December 20, 2007 04:27 PM
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
    I understand. I am not in health care but what I have learned from my friends at Duke was an eye opener for me. I was in my doctors office one day and his secretary was alternating between tears and fustrated rage over a young man that the insurer was refusing to approve treatment for…she showed me a stack of faxes a foot high the doctor had sent to his insurance company trying to get them to approve payment for what the man needed to stay alive.
    Just yesterday I saw a sign saying Help Keep Rachel Alive…another young girl with cancer that friends have been raising money for to pay the hospital portion of her bills for over a year now. I know her sister who works at my vet’s office and was a bone marrow donor for her sister….this girl was in the military and got caught without insurance in the window between then and getting a civilian job. Her doctors aren’t charging for their part but she still has to pay all the other cost.

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  4. karenk says:

    Carroll, You are right, there is a prevention and cure for malaria in the form of a pill, it’s just getting that pill to those who need it-no different from the cure for TB we have, yet rates of TB in some US inner city areas still rival those of third world countries. Same for intestinal worms infecting people all over the world-a simple pill but it has to get to the person to take it and they have to have access to clean water in the future(prevention) otherwise,they’ll be back.
    I am no policy expert, but I spent 24 years on the front lines of healthcare delivery. Insurance companies have no business in health care. Their bottom line is making money so what is to stop them from denying coverage for any reason they choose in order to save themselves money? Nothing. They don’t know what cures and heals, yet they continue to tell healthcare professionals what care to give/not give. I know this is a shocking concept in America, but the value of some things CANNOT be measured in dollars. It seems that in their quest to save money on the front end, insurance companies are faced with paying far more on the back end(or not I suppose if they choose not to). And they do it over and over again. You get sicker or no care and they get richer. It’s such a bad way to deliver care. Most serious problems can be headed off with prevention or early intervention which costs far less than dealing with a well established disease or an ignored injury. Say what you want about the Canadian and European healthcare systems, they do better than the US on many counts(access to care, prevention, maternal death rates, infant mortality, life expectancy). I don’t see why we couldn’t have universal government sponsored health coverage for everyone. Then if the wealthy want to buy private insurance, they can do that.
    It’s a terrible thing to witness someone who needs care get booted out of the hospital-or someone who deserves an intensive care unit be be shoved in the corner of an ER to languish-we should be ashamed of ourselves. I could go on and on about the terrible things I’ve seen, but I’ll spare you all. This is one reason I got out of hospital based nursing-much of what we were being forced to do went against my moral values and against the reason why I chose nursing in the first place. I am definitely not alone on that either…

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  5. JohnH says:

    Competition in health insurance is a mirage. The AMA did a survey and found nearly universal monopsony power (doctors having no bargaining power with insurers): “in 299 of the 313 markets the AMA surveyed, one health plan accounts for at least 30 percent of the combined health maintenance organization (HMO)/preferred provider organization (PPO) market.” http://www.ama-assn.org/ama1/pub/upload/mm/368/compstudy_52006.pdf
    If you look through the tables, it’s incredible how many metro markets are dominated by a single carrier (>50% market share). If physicians have no bargaining power, then individuals and small businesses are SOL, too.
    The emerging choices are actually quite stark: either relatively low-priced universal government health insurance or high priced, oligopolistic coverage provided by a handful of giants. Oligopolistic insurers would like nothing more than to have the government require people buy from them at monopolistic prices. Politicians (except Edwards and Kucinich) appear eager to oblige. If I understand Hillary’s plan, it will use taxes or debt to help insure those who cannot afford the monopolistic prices.
    Medicare Part D was only the beginning of a massive wealth transfer from taxpayers to giant health insurers.

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  6. Carroll says:

    What, pray tell, is so sacred about the insurance industry?
    We have put the US steel industry almost out of business.
    We have put the US textile industry out of business.
    We have put most of the US furniture industry out of business.
    Why not the insurance industry?
    Outsource it to the government.
    They say Gov employees salaries are so much less than private industry so just think of it as saving cost like the private corporations do with cheap labor in India and China.

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  7. Carroll says:

    I disagree with this so much I hardly know where to begin.
    1)Since it’s unlikely that Americans will allow their improvident neighbors to expire without medical care in the streets, is there a politically palatable alternative that can preserve and expand private medicine in the United States? Yes: mandatory private health insurance.
    *Wrong, this happens quite often. I want you to visit some teaching hospitals where un or underinsured people end up because the specialist there will offer their services “pro bono” to people who can’t pay. These are the people that Americans do indeed allow to expire or come close to expiring in the For Profit health.
    2)Should the federal government require all Americans to buy private health insurance? This intriguing proposal is being pushed by the New America Foundation, a liberal policy shop in Washington, D.C. “Universal coverage in exchange for universal responsibility,” is how the NAF characterizes it.
    Before rejecting the proposal out of hand, stop and consider that it may be a second-best alternative for relieving the growing political pressure to create some sort of nationalized single-payer health care system modeled on the nearly bankrupt and increasingly shabby health care schemes in Canada and Western Europe. Make no mistake about it–private health care is imperiled in the United States, given that all of the Democratic presidential hopefuls want to expand existing government health care programs and/or create some sort of universal government-run system. The NAF proposal could derail this pernicious political dynamic.
    * Wrong. You need to be a doctor and an employee as well as an employer in the world that actually produces, buys and sells and contributes to the GNP that keeps the nation moving and earth turning to understand what is wrong with this. There is nothing wrong with requiring mandatory insurance but not thru Private insurers. Did you learn nothing from the Medicare D scheme?
    3)The devil is in the details, of course. Still, the NAF plan offers some interesting possibilities. For example, mandatory health insurance coverage might be combined with desirable features such as medical savings accounts, which would encourage people to save and invest for future medical emergencies.
    * Wrong. We already have medical saving accounts. They do not benefit the low income people that need affordable coverage.
    4)The NAF proposal preserves private insurance and allows consumers to choose among competing insurance plans and coverage options. Most intriguingly, NAF offers a way out of the dysfunctional employer-financed third-party-payer system that is so grievously distorting our current health insurance system. Employers would eventually devolve responsibility for health insurance to their employees by giving them the money the companies currently pay out to insurance agents. Employees would then have a strong incentive to shop around for the best health care deals, putting pressure on insurance companies to keep costs low.
    * Employees, as well as Employers already “shop around” for the best deals. There is no such thing as “putting pressure on insurance companies” to keep prices low. All you will get out of that is plans that offer less for lower cost and that is what lower income peope will end up with and what some higher income people will choose simply becuase of the cost, not the coverage. If insurers compete anywhere in the Employer’s catageory it is in “administration cost” to self insured corporations.
    Why don’t you write something on your opinion of Edwards plan that creates a gov. sponsored universal plan and also allows private insurers to continue their plans so that the public can choose between the government plan and the private insurers plans?
    A faceoff between the gov on some kind of plan modeled after medicare and the private insurers.
    Let’s see who does the best job for the money.
    Of course the private insurers don’t like it because it takes taxpayer money and subsidizes a “Non-Profit” system instead of taking taxpayer money to subsidize their “For Profit” private business. The same way they whine about Freddie and Sallie taking away some of their business by servicing certain loans because they get gov. favors.
    I think this is ultimately the way to test universal coverage and once and for all make those who spout the “free market” capitalism theory as “working better and keeping cost low” put their money where their mouth is. Prove it.
    Unless of the “free market” private industry is afraid to compete…humm, you reckon?
    This mandatory private plan “forces” people, who for the most part are uninsured because they can’t afford it or their employment doesn’t offer it ot they are unemployed into the private market where they will be “forced” to choose and “forced” to pay for whatever plan they “can afford” plan even though it probably won’t really provide adaquate coverage…they will just “have something”.
    This is total bulls***…forcing people to both buy insurance and buy it from “For Profits” ..and to add insult to injury …forcing taxpayers to subsidize the For Profit Insurance industry.
    The government is going to “force” me to do business with the Insurance industry and then “force” me as a taxpayer to also subsidize the private company I am doing business with?
    Sounds like the mafia, force me to give them the business contract and then force to me give them a kickback on the contract I am already paying them for…and paying them enough to pay their stockholders not to mention those 22 million a year CEOs.
    5) While I think the New America Foundation is more “radical centrist” than “liberal”, I completely agree with Bailey’s general take on how to get Americans covered by health insurance without tipping towards inefficient socialized bureaucracies or the alternative, manic market provision of health care which assures humanitarian nightmares for the tens of millions and growing in the United States who have little prospect of securing health insurance.
    * Wrong,wrong,wrong. If you want to see a “manic market” keep promoting the mandatory “Private Insurers”. As far as “inefficient socialized bureaucracies” you need to have some first hand experience before you make that prouncement. My cousin’s husband died in London while he was there as a Rhodes scholar back in the 70’s. There was much consulation by the familes with the Mayo Clinic here in the US and also with Duke Hospital who were in touch with his London doctors as to his treatment and whether he should be treated in the US for his advanced stomach cancer. The opinions of all the doctors here was that he was getting the best and most advanced at the time treatment options available anywhere, including the US. And that was under the ‘socialized” health care system.
    It’s time that instead of corps and some people “working” the government for a living, that we make the government work for the most people. If the insurers can’t hack it too bad, let them go start solar panel companies. Isn’t that what we tell all the other people who have lost their jobs to do…retrain themselves? We could start a whole new industry..retraining CEOs to do business without relying on taxpayer financing.

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  8. pauline says:

    I’ve seen blog comments on HRC’s posted healthcare-for-all plan where the specific question, “does your plan include insuring foreign aliens with green cards?” has not been openly and fully explained by HRC’s site or spokespeople.

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  9. pauline says:

    POA wrote:
    “…what this posturing fraud…has done”
    She opposes accepting substantive money from the 51st state and the war economy lobbyists with her right hand, while bush opposes using his left.
    See, there are real differences in our two party system!

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  10. PissedOffMonkey says:

    POA: Exactly what colour is your bathrobe?

    Reply

  11. JohnH says:

    POA: you just made me realize that maybe HRC has been an extremely successful legislator with a strong record of accomplishment–as long as she gives herself credit for Bush policies, particularly on Iraq, Iran and Israel. Until now, I thought Bush was responsible, but as Karl Rove said, the Democrats in Congress forced his hand!

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  12. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Perhaps “the718” will enhance our knowledge of Hillary’s performance these last seven years.
    Then again, probably not.
    And yeah, its not real comfortable sharing an opinion with Morrow, and I suspect he and I have quite different reasons for opposing Hillary. But the desired result is keeping the witch out of the Oval Office, and I’ll take any help I can get.
    And I challenge ANYONE, especially Steve, to tell us what this posturing fraud, Hillary Clinton, has done to oppose this Administration in any substantive manner.

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  13. JohnH says:

    This and Steve’s September post are both strong recommendations for Rubiner–full of examples documenting the reach of her influence and accomplishments.
    This is exactly the kind of recommendation that Hillary’s supporters need to provide to prove she really is getting something done. In a world like Capitol Hill, where political endorsements are traded like baseball cards, substance is almost impossible to separate from smoke and mirrors. Without well supported evidence, you have no reason to believe that Hillary’s “experience” is anything more than that of any first lady. Without evidence, Hillary is little more than an ambitious Laura Bush, Barbara Bush, Nancy Reagan, etc.
    If her experience is so extensive, why doesn’t she have anything to show for it? Because there really is nothing there?

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  14. the718 says:

    Morrow:
    You’re so far behind the times…DDT is back, being used and embraced by everyone, including Bush, in the fight to eradicate this disease.
    In fact, Bush has made this a major priority of his. This issue is not a left/right issue.
    Stop being an ASS or go back to screaming at the computer while sitting in your bathrobe just like Pissed Off American!

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  15. EA says:

    Robert Morrow:
    Primum non nocere. Hurting people to help them is a Republican thing I guess.
    Wow, you are clever! Keep pointing out all those no-brainer ideas. Hell, Malaria No More should be hiring you, being such a public health genius and all.
    We need more sociopaths setting policy these days! Informative to see illustrated the “burn the village to the ground to save it” way of thinking.

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  16. Robert Morrow says:

    Note to liberals. If you want to stop malaria, why don’t you use DDT? It works.

    Reply

  17. pauline says:

    Dan Kervick:
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
    Maybe this guy knows.
    “Hillary Clinton’s Health Care Diva”
    Posted September 22, 2007 | 10:52 AM (EST)
    Hillary’s foreign policy team has some of the mega-stars in the national security business. She has Madeleine Albright, Richard Holbrooke, Sandy Berger, Wesley Clark, William Perry, and a good number of their acolytes — but her counselors are about as top-heavy as George W. Bush’s team was with Dick Cheney, Colin Powell, Condoleezza Rice, Donald Rumsfeld, Richard Armitage, Paul Wolfowitz and others on board.
    Having a lot of big guns as advisers doesn’t mean that they will all shoot the same direction. In fact, rumors continue to slip out of the Clinton camp that there are substantial tensions between Holbrooke, Albright, and Berger who all are trying to define the key features of Hillary Clinton’s foreign policy persona. To give Hillary some credit that John Kerry’s campaign doesn’t deserve, I think she has more a sense of her own views than Kerry might have — and is willing to knock back the counsel of her advisers and is willing to tell them to cease the bickering, elbowing, and theatrics between these competitive camps.
    But in health care — there is one voice who dominates the policy work in “Hillary Land” and that is Laurie Rubiner. (and yes I know, Hillary knows a lot about health care policy but I’m not counting her.)
    Imagine a diva who was not haughty and spoiled — but just emanated total confidence and knowledge of some skill or issue — like quantum mechanics, or magazine editing, or health care. That is Laurie Rubiner.
    Yesterday, the New York Times profiled Rubiner and her significant contributions to Hillary’s much talked about health care proposal. The Washington Note profiled Laurie Rubiner’s work this past January — and today John Fund at the Wall Street Journal takes on Rubiner (and of course, Hillary).
    Rubiner doesn’t only do health care policy; she runs Hillary Clinton’s entire policy shop in her Senate office. In fact, in my view some of the major power brokers in Hillary Clinton’s political machine sometime forget that the actual Senate staff Hillary has hired are mostly better in their ability to project tomorrow’s policy needs than the White House-hungry policy advisers she has brought in to the campaign.
    I should probably disclose that Rubiner and I had one serious argument that had to do with communication, honor, and who said what to whom –but her husband told me later that what I saw was a mild breeze compared to what was possible. But I have learned from several sources that Hillary Clinton and Rubiner have the kind of gritty give-and-take relationship that few have with the Senator and would-be President of the United States. They can argue about some serious policy difference, tell each other to go to hell, and then laugh it off.
    Rubiner headed the health care policy program of the New America Foundation where I have worked for the last nine years. Before joining New America, Rubiner worked in a number of key policy and advocacy roles — but it was her work for the late Senator John Chafee (R-RI) where she conceived under the Senator’s name and at his direction a health care plan that would maintain private sector deployment of health care services as the backbone of America’s health system, avoid the single payer debate that divides that policy community, and be universal.
    Rubiner brought her work to New America — and the DNA of her efforts exists in all of the significant “test efforts” of comprehensive health care coverage — including in Republican Arnold Schwarzenegger’s proposal for California, Democrat Gavin Newsom’s in San Francisco, and Republican Mitt Romney’s in Massachusetts.
    Now, Hillary Clinton has brought the sensibility of the Chafee/Rubiner health care proposals into her own plan for the country and demonstrated considerable political bravery and sensitivity in doing so. I think it takes a lot for someone like Hillary Clinton to abandon her former approach on health care coverage in which she drilled down into the fine and messy details — and change course, rather than doing what many people who acquire power do — and that is just yell more loudly or force more strongly a posiition they previously held.
    Rubiner does a killer impersonation of Senator John Chafee, and it’s so compelling that on one occasion when I was quite upset with the vote of his son, the no-longer-Republican former Senator Lincoln Chafee, on John Bolton’s UN confirmation, I advised the younger Chafee to go spend time with his dad via Laurie Rubiner. I can just imagine Rubiner channeling John Chafee for Hillary Clinton and giving the Senator the secrets to making this universal health care coverage work.
    Interestingly, John Fund today hardly scrapes the policy framework or nuts-and-bolts of the Hillary/Chafee/Rubiner health care plan — but rather the optics and the politics of it. He slams Clinton’s plan for being like Schwarzenegger’s — and then asserts that this plan will lead to new bureaucracies, open up tensions on coverage for illegal aliens, and fail to generate needed bipartisan support.
    The fundamental, underlying problem that exists in America’s health care sector is getting people with financial means who elect not to get health care to do so. If a mandate were generated that everyone needed to be in health care, not only would the nation as a whole become healthier but the costs of subsidizing those in real need or without financial means declines on a relative basis. I hope John Fund and other critics of Hillary Clinton’s new proposal don’t believe that the less well off should just stay that way and should get nothing at all from America’s health care system.
    Clinton’s (and Rubiner’s) proposal maintains a vibrant private sector backbone for the provision of health services; there is no “socialization” of providers and no single payer requirement.
    John Fund may revisit this issue of how to get to a healthier health care system in the United States, so let me share with him and others what conservative libertarian Ronald Bailey wrote in 2003 in Reason Magazine about the New America Foundation’s health care proposal (as hatched and incubated by Laurie Rubiner). This from Bailey’s “Mandatory Universal Health Insurance? Perhaps It’s a Better Idea Than You Think It Is”:
    Since it’s unlikely that Americans will allow their improvident neighbors to expire without medical care in the streets, is there a politically palatable alternative that can preserve and expand private medicine in the United States? Yes: mandatory private health insurance.
    Should the federal government require all Americans to buy private health insurance? This intriguing proposal is being pushed by the New America Foundation, a liberal policy shop in Washington, D.C. “Universal coverage in exchange for universal responsibility,” is how the NAF characterizes it.
    Before rejecting the proposal out of hand, stop and consider that it may be a second-best alternative for relieving the growing political pressure to create some sort of nationalized single-payer health care system modeled on the nearly bankrupt and increasingly shabby health care schemes in Canada and Western Europe. Make no mistake about it–private health care is imperiled in the United States, given that all of the Democratic presidential hopefuls want to expand existing government health care programs and/or create some sort of universal government-run system. The NAF proposal could derail this pernicious political dynamic.
    The devil is in the details, of course. Still, the NAF plan offers some interesting possibilities. For example, mandatory health insurance coverage might be combined with desirable features such as medical savings accounts, which would encourage people to save and invest for future medical emergencies.
    The NAF proposal preserves private insurance and allows consumers to choose among competing insurance plans and coverage options. Most intriguingly, NAF offers a way out of the dysfunctional employer-financed third-party-payer system that is so grievously distorting our current health insurance system. Employers would eventually devolve responsibility for health insurance to their employees by giving them the money the companies currently pay out to insurance agents. Employees would then have a strong incentive to shop around for the best health care deals, putting pressure on insurance companies to keep costs low.
    While I think the New America Foundation is more “radical centrist” than “liberal”, I completely agree with Bailey’s general take on how to get Americans covered by health insurance without tipping towards inefficient socialized bureaucracies or the alternative, manic market provision of health care which assures humanitarian nightmares for the tens of millions and growing in the United States who have little prospect of securing health insurance.
    If the libertarians in addition to Democrats like Gavin Newsom and Hillary Clinton and Republicans like Mitt Romney and Arnold Schwarzenegger can sign up for what John Chafee launched some years ago — then this deserves serious national scrutiny at all levels of government. Next to America’s deteriorated national security and foreign policy standing in the world, the absence of strategy to credibly broaden health care in this country is our largest problem.
    Kudos to Hillary Clinton for having the confidence of self to allow a “Senate staffer” in her employ to get some of the media credit for her proposal. This alone says something about Clinton that I haven’t noted before. Staffers aren’t supposed to get credit, and they certainly can’t angle for it.
    Rubiner is getting credit not because she wanted any of this — but because to connect the dots in the political history of what is the most likely universal health care plan to come into being — one must tell the story of Laurie Rubiner.
    — Steve Clemons is Senior Fellow and Director of the American Strategy Program at the New America Foundation and publishes the popular political blog, The Washington Note

    Reply

  18. Dan Kervick says:

    Is Rubiner the person who was responsible for pushing out the info on Clinton’s superfund subcommittee and contrasting it with the Obama European affairs subcommittee?

    Reply

  19. pauline says:

    September 21, 2007
    NYTimes: Finding Her Passion on Capitol Hill
    By ROBIN FINN
    LAURIE RUBINER strides into an empty conference room at Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton’s Midtown headquarters clutching a teensy silver Blackberry and a cellphone – “obligatory equipment”, she says with a minor grimace, explaining that she is a closet technophobe.
    As for voluntary equipment, along with a bold three-strand necklace of black stones as big as marbles, she wears an understated pantsuit in nonpartisan black and no hosiery with her suede pumps – significant sartorial details.
    Ms. Rubiner, a health care expert who, with policy director Neera Tanden, helped shape the $110 billion-a-year health program her boss unveiled this week in Iowa, signed on as Mrs. Clinton’s legislative director in 2005 after a decade in a similar role for John H. Chafee, the consensus-inclined Republican senator from Rhode Island. He was a moderate Republican, to be sure, but Republican nonetheless (also a great admirer of Mrs. Clinton).
    Before finding a political mentor in Mr. Chafee, Ms. Rubiner, who grew up in Michigan – her mother was an artist; her parents owned a gallery – made her Capitol Hill debut as a Barnard undergraduate, interning for another, albeit higher profile Republican senator: Bob Dole.
    “I’m a firm Independent,” says Ms. Rubiner, 45, who is more issues-driven than partisan-prone. “I don’t see a lot of daylight between Hillary Clinton and John Chafee on the things I care about.”
    At the top of the list?
    “Senator Clinton is 150 percent committed to universal health care coverage, and so am I,” she said. “There’s nothing wrong with our health care in this country; the problem is with the health care system. Insurance companies shouldn’t be competing against each other based on their ability to screen out those who need coverage the most. Right now the deck is stacked against the average consumer.”
    The Clinton plan, which would be paid for in part by a rollback of Bush administration tax cuts for upper-echelon income-earners, would require all Americans to have coverage and prohibit insurers from dropping or denying clients with pre-existing medical conditions. Unlike Mrs. Clinton’s ill-fated health care proposal of 1993-94, this plan allows people to enroll in public insurance programs or retain their present coverage and offers tax credits to “working families.”
    “I don’t think the public will let Republicans get away with calling it Hillary-Care or socialism this time,” Ms. Rubiner predicted. “The situation is too serious for slogans.”
    Ms. Rubiner includes her own relatives – a screenwriter brother in Brooklyn who qualifies for union health insurance only if he sells enough scripts each year and an older sister in Iowa whose family was temporarily uninsured after her husband lost his job – among the average consumers adversely affected by what she sees as a dysfunctional system.
    It is the 47 million uninsured Americans that worry her the most, and it is not a new worry. Affordable health care has been Ms. Rubiner’s passion since becoming a legislative assistant to Mr. Chafee in 1990, an era when women were forbidden to wear pantsuits on the Senate floor. Skirts and dresses only. “Stockings have got to be something men invented,” she said, laughing.
    Though the dress code was relaxed in the late 1990s, ultimate approval was left to the individual senators, and she worked for an old-fashioned one. If the Senate was in session, dresses were de rigueur. If the Senate was in recess, and Mr. Chafee away, pants were allowed in the office. One day he showed up unexpectedly, though.
    “He came into my office and said, ‘What is that costume you have on?'” she recalled, “and I said to him, ‘Senator, it’s the costume of the 20th century: It’s called pants.'”
    After his death, Ms. Rubiner left politics. She couldn’t imagine working for any other legislator. At 36, as a single parent, she started law school at Georgetown University Law Center. It took four years and required a sizable loan, which, she says, she will finish paying off at age 70. “Some people buy a sports car for their midlife crisis, but I decided I needed a law degree.”
    She served as vice president for public policy at the National Partnership for Women and Families; in 2003, after remarrying and relocating to Brooklyn with her daughter, Nora, and her husband, Chris Spanos, who works in international marketing at AOL, she directed the health care program for the New America Foundation, a public policy institute.
    IN February 2005, Mrs. Clinton, in searching for a health policy expert, invited her to interview for the spot, which involved moving the family back to Washington. Ms. Rubiner reversed her decision to stay away from Capitol Hill almost immediately; they had barely made it through the conventional pleasantries before Mrs. Clinton fixated on the red Latico satchel on her arm. They are both hopeless handbag addicts as well as hopeful health care policymakers.
    “I had vowed never to go back into government,” Ms. Rubiner admitted, “but she’s a very special case. It seemed historic to me: this is not your mother’s senator. And I’d be a liar if I said it didn’t cross my mind that if I joined her team I might get to help her get elected this country’s first woman president.”
    She was also smitten by the Clinton team: “She had fabulous women working for her, the kind of people who come to Washington for all the right reasons. There are lots of people who go into government for the wrong reasons. They’re power-hungry, not there to lift other people up, just there to lift themselves up. The currency of trade in New York City is money; the currency in Washington is power and connections. You can imagine many of the wrong kind of people being drawn to that.”
    She’s not.
    see —
    http://www.nytimes.com/2007/09/21/nyregion/21lives.html?_r=2&oref=slogin&ref=nyregion&pagewanted=print

    Reply

  20. JohnH says:

    Hillary supporters are asking us to take her experience on faith. “take my word for it, she is great.” No facts necessary.
    I did several searches on Hillary’s Senate record, accomplishments, legislative record, etc. Almost nothing there. If it was so great, Clinton’s hired pens would have been buzzing about it for more more than a year now.
    With seven disastrous years of faith based presidency behind us, it’s time to elect someone based on the reality of a proven track record.

    Reply

  21. Punchy says:

    You probably should have published a better pic of that woman than one of her surrounded by a ton of drinks. Methinks she’s a boozehound from that photo, although working with Senators may cause this…

    Reply

  22. pauline says:

    Heard on the Hill: Tensions Running High
    Posted June 28, 2006 | 07:50 PM (EST)
    The exceedingly intense rivalry between Sens. Hillary Rodham Clinton (N.Y.) and Charles Schumer (N.Y.) embroiled just about everybody in the Senate Democratic leadership Tuesday, including Minority Leader Harry Reid (Nev.) and his spokeswoman.
    Apparently, Clinton and her staff felt snubbed when party leaders organized a news conference in which they vowed to block efforts to give Members of Congress a pay raise until Congress approves an increase in the minimum wage. Clinton has introduced legislation along those lines, but she was not involved in planning the leadership’s news conference to trumpet the issue.
    Although Clinton, a close adviser of Reid’s, was ultimately invited to attend the news conference, she was not told about the event until just hours before it began Tuesday.
    While the noon event was hastily arranged — planning for it only began Monday night — a Clinton aide was apparently so furious that the Senator seemed to be left out of the loop that she bawled out (“reamed out” was how one source put it) a spokeswoman for Reid near the entrance to the Senate Radio-Television Gallery.
    The Clinton aide, Laurie Rubiner, was overheard saying to Reid spokeswoman Rebecca Kirszner, “You suck” and “How could you do this?”
    Sources say Clinton looked “visibly upset” at the news conference. (Paging Ken Mehlman; didn’t you label Clinton the “angry” candidate?) She did not stay for the duration of the question-and-answer session.
    Whatever thoughts she or her staff may have expressed to Democratic leaders and their aides before the event, Reid did introduce Clinton and single her out as being “on top of this issue.”
    “And I think it would have been really unfair not to have her here today,” Reid said, “as she has had the vision to look down the road on this issue before some of the others.”
    One reporter who attended the news conference described Reid’s comments as “a little weird” and “out of context.”
    The Democratic leaders — Reid, plus Schumer, who chairs the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, Minority Whip Dick Durbin (Ill.) and Democratic Caucus Secretary Debbie Stabenow (Mich.) — met Monday night and decided to hold the news conference. First they scheduled it for 2:30 p.m. following the Tuesday Caucus lunches. Then they moved it up to noon.
    Because the time switch threw off her schedule and she had other meetings to attend, Clinton had to leave early, her spokesman, Philippe Reines, told HOH.
    He also jokingly denied that Rubiner had chewed out Kirszner, saying, “Laurie Rubiner did not say that to Rebecca. She said ‘Nice work.’ And she meant it.”
    Of the Senator, he said, “She was just very disappointed, and continues to be, that the federal minimum wage isn’t higher.”
    A Democratic leadership source told HOH that Rubiner later called Kirszner and apologized, and the apology was accepted. “All’s well that ends well,” the aide said.
    Democratic sources also suggested that Clinton may be more irritated at Schumer than Reid.
    One aide said that Schumer “had to have known that Hillary had a bill” on the minimum wage-pay raise issue during that planning meeting Monday night, yet he “didn’t say a word” and didn’t include her.
    Phil Singer, Schumer’s spokesman at the DSCC, rejected that notion out of hand, saying, “This issue starkly highlights the wrong priorities of Congressional Republicans, and we’re all grateful for Sen. Clinton’s leadership in bringing this issue to the forefront.”
    see —
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/mary-ann-akers/heard-on-the-hill-tensio_b_24007.html

    Reply

  23. john o. says:

    For how long will The Washington Note remain a resident of Hillaryland?

    Reply

  24. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Gads Steve, you should have some color brochures made up.
    She sure has done a great job pressing for accountability, and offering substantive opposition, these last seven years, hasn’t she?
    Wow, what an impressive recommendation; “The Republicans admire her yadayadayada..”
    And we all know how the Republicans have acted in our best interests these last seven years, and the tactics they’ve used? Great to know they respect her “abilities”. It should come as no suprise to you that thats what worries a great many of us.
    Kinda like saying Idi Amin had great admiration for Joseph Mengele, isn’t it?

    Reply

  25. Carroll says:

    I am confused.
    Don’t we already know how to cure malaria? Isn’t it just a matter of getting the education and materials to prevent it and the gd drugs to them?
    Is it really necessary to have yet another seperate Institute with yet more Directors of XYZ, ABC,TTU, ad nausum to address another seperate problem?
    Why are problems of Sub Africa not ACTUALLY being rolled into one ball of wax where all resources can be combined?
    There are private companies and enterprizes within and without Africa working on such things as affordable prefab housing for villages, solar energy panels to go along with them to provide shelter and more sanitary living which would naturally help cut down on the conditions that cause malaria and many other health problems.
    All this overlapping and seperate little NGO and Gov financied institute “thingys” to address the problems of that region seems terribly inefficent, time wasting and more expensive to me than having one unbrella group that could include
    all the various groups who working on the problem and share their expertise.
    Correct me if I am wrong.

    Reply

  26. Steve Clemons says:

    John H — you are wrong if you think that Hillary Clinton isn’t praised for her performance as a Senator from nearly all quarters. The Republicans — even those who were prone to not like her — admire her deal-making and legislative skills. And all of the other campaigns — particularly Obama’s — have been very clear in their statements of admiration for Hillary Clinton’s legislative and policy work.
    Best, Steve Clemons

    Reply

  27. JohnH says:

    “Hillary Clinton’s Senate legislative profile has been praised by so many???” There are probably more sycophants than rats in DC. But what exactly are Hillary’s legislative accomplishments? What bills carry her name? Apart from marrying Bill, where is the beef?

    Reply

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