Putting People First
“You have to put your people first. You have to educate and invest and provide affordable health care to all … because we don’t have a person to waste.”
–Governor Clinton, Address to the Conference of Mayors, June 22, 1992
In keeping with his belief that government could be a force for positive change in people’s lives, President Clinton took action to ensure the health and security of millions of Americans. In 1993, he signed the Family and Medical Leave Act, which enabled workers to take time off to care for newborn children and sick family members. His attempt to reform the nation’s health care system, spearheaded by First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton, was defeated, but it set the stage for step-by-step improvements such as the Children’s Health Insurance Program.
In 1996, President Clinton signed a welfare reform law designed to move people from welfare to work, ending welfare as a way of life. Anticipating the retirement of the baby boom generation and the burden that would place on Medicare and Social Security, he enacted strict fiscal policies that extended the life of the Medicare and Social Security Trust Funds.
This exhibit area includes letters sent by citizens to the President and First Lady during the health care reform debate of 1993 and 1994, and a timeline of actions taken by the Clinton administration to improve the lives of children, adolescents, adults, and the elderly.