Former President Bill Clinton defends his administration's attempt to reshape the U.S. health care system in a new book, saying the effort "was killed by politics, not the plan's particulars."
Clinton also disputes the Bush administration's skepticism about the effect of carbon emissions in producing climate change, calling the scientific evidence "overwhelming."
"Giving," set for publication Sept. 4, is largely an apolitical treatise on the ways in which philanthropy, innovative business practices and human generosity can tackle global problems. The former president runs a large charitable foundation that bears his name, focusing on issues of climate change, poverty and public health in the developing world.
But Clinton also uses the book to tout his successes in the White House and gets in several glowing mentions of his wife, Hillary Rodham Clinton, the 2008 Democratic presidential front-runner. He also takes some subtle digs at Republicans, including President George W. Bush.
Government's role is essential in promoting public welfare, Clinton writes, ticking through his own accomplishments as president. During his eight years in office, Clinton said air quality standards improved, 90 percent of children were vaccinated against serious diseases, and 40 million more people had access to safer drinking water.
The former president never criticizes his successor by name but takes aim at several Bush administration policies.
On health care, Clinton notes that millions more Americans are uninsured since he left office and that insurance premiums have risen 90 percent.
"Since 2000, all the cost and coverage problems have worsened," he writes, arguing that the country may soon be ready for a major health care overhaul.
The former president also praises Ira Magaziner, who with Hillary Clinton helped spearhead the administration's failed health care reform effort, as a "brilliant social entrepreneur" unfairly blamed for the political debacle. Magaziner now runs the Clinton Foundation's HIV/AIDS effort.
On climate change, "The country has refused to take serious action," Clinton writes, complaining that "too many politicians have been resistant to implementing proven strategies to reduce emissions."
The Bush administration and many Republicans have acknowledged the need to address climate change, but have resisted global agreements to make emission reductions mandatory.