By Mary Agnes Carey
A law to remake health care in this country doesn't have to be perfect, but it does have to get passed to make a difference, former President Bill Clinton told Senate Democrats Tuesday.
"I think it is good politics to pass it and pass it as soon as they can," he said to reporters who packed a Capitol hallway to get his take on the current health debate. "The worst thing to do is nothing."
Mindful of Clinton's failure to enact sweeping health-care legislation during his presidency, President Obama and Democrats hope this time is different. While House Democrats passed their measure late Saturday, it's unclear when the Senate will begin debate.
Clinton acknowledged that remaking the nation's health-care system may require fixes for unintended consequences down the road.
"It's not important to be perfect here. It's important to act," Clinton said. "To move. To start the ball rolling. To claim the evident advantages that all of these plans agree with. Whatever they can get the votes for I'm going to support."
Carey is a reporter for Kaiser Health News, a nonprofit news service.