In fact, perhaps his biggest defeat came in 1993, when Clintons health care legislation died in Dingells committee. Dingell blames that failure on dithering by White House officials and hundreds of millions of dollars spent by the insurance industry to kill it. I lost it by one vote and I couldnt get it, Dingell said with intensity and regret.
But he sees signs of hope. The business community is starting to understand that the U.S. health care system creates a competitive disadvantage. He notes that the Detroit auto industry spends $1,600 per vehicle on health care, compared with $750 on steel. If they had $1,600 to invest in the company, theyd be flush, Dingell said.
Im going to work like hell to pass it, Dingell said.
Dingell also said he wants to get funding for a national park in his district commemorating the War of 1812 in time for the bicentennial and to complete a fish and wildlife refuge there.
And despite talk that he could be replaced by another Dingell, either his powerful wife, Debbie, or one of his four children, Big John sounds like he wants to stick around and set a few more records.
Theres an old Polish saying, Before you sell the bears hide, you first have to shoot the bear, he said. This bears doing pretty good.