We all want a health care system that is universal, high quality and affordable so that parents don't have to choose between care for themselves or their children or be stuck in dead-end jobs simply to keep their insurance. This isn't just an issue for me. It's a passion and a cause, and it is a fight I will continue until every single American is ensured - no exceptions and no excuses.
With this statement, Hillary declared her determination to achieve universal health care for Americans - "with no exceptions and no excuses" - even though Obama opposes universality. In fact, during the campaign Obama released a series of ads attacking Hillary for seeking universality. More than one carried the slogan "Hillary's health care plan forces everyone to buy insurance, even if you can't afford it." Paul Krugman estimated that under Obama's plan, at least 23 million Americans would remain uninsured.
Everything else in her speech was aimed at subsuming Hillary's political machine into Obama's to help him become president. On this one issue did she defy him. And I think that gives us a little ray of insight into her goals.
The pundits have been opining that Hillary has been using her photo finish power to force Obama to give her the vice presidency, or the supreme court, or some other big job. I think it's more likely that what Hillary wants is to finish what she started in 1993 and obtain health care for all Americans. It's more than a Herculean task - it's the sort of monumental achievement that might use up the entire career of a great person. And she seems ready to give it her all.
Now that's a legacy to make the vice presidency seem pretty trivial.
(Note: Thanks to my friend Ellen for pointing out that Hillary broke with Obama on this issue. It sailed right by me when I first listened to the speech, and all the pundits also seemed to miss it.)