In a March 24, 2010 email sent to Senator Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.), then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton thanked Catholic nuns for helping to pass the Affordable Care Act (ACA), also known as Obamacare.
The email was made public on Monday by the State Department. It is a part of a larger batch of emails that were released as an investigation into Clinton’s use of a personal computer to conduct government business.
Clinton’s email is in response to a text sent to her by Mikulski, who contacted Clinton via Blackberry on the evening of March 22 - the Monday after the Affordable Care Act was passed in the House after clearing the Senate, and the evening before President Obama signed it into law.
The ACA had been passed with the public support of the Catholic Health Association and its president, Sister Carol Keehan, despite the disapproval of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.
On Monday March 22 at 8:34 pm, Mikulski texted the following to Clinton (errors in the original):
Whew once again u are in the thick of thing --- but didn’t it make your heart feel good about passage of. Health Care ----and. The. Nuns pushed it over the finish line ----as usual in the fcore front of. Social. Justice and a daring willingness. To break with the. Boys ---- if you need a tonic. Go to the. Nuns exhibit @ the. Smithsonian --- Ripley. Center. Gives the 250 year history of. Nuns in. Usa. And their role in shaping. Our country and producing 1000s of women leaders with names like. Pelosi. Mikulski. FerrarO. Sebilius. ----- takes less than an hour. You are doing great.
On March 24 Clinton replied:
Let’s hear it for the nuns -- I knew when they came out, the die was cast and Bart [Stupak] would get his knuckles rapped. Now, let’s wrap this up in the Senate and go drink something unhealthy! All your AIPAC [American Israel Public Affairs Committee] friends told me you’re doing well so take care and keep going – w the wind at you [sic] back and my fervent cheers -- Hillary.
The Catholic Health Association represents more than 600 Catholic hospitals around the country. In a June 2015 speech President Obama, praised the group and Sister Carol Keehan.
"I don't know whether this is appropriate, but I just told Sister Carol I love her," he said. "We would not have gotten the Affordable Care Act done had it not been for her."
In 2010, Bart Stupak, who is referenced in Clinton's email, was a pro-life Democratic congressman from Michigan who initially opposed the ACA on the grounds that it provided taxpayer funding for abortion. Stupak changed his position when President Obama signed an executive order claiming that taxpayer funding would not go to abortion.