Barack Obama’s health care plan: Is it good enough? Is it good at all?

The most important issue to me is health care. When liberals denounce the Iraq occupation, and demand that our troops be brought home, I nod in agreement.

But when Gov. Gregoire extends WA Basic Health to cover more people, or when presidential candidates talk about just how they’ll cover the 45 million uninsured, I pay attention. It’s not that I don’t care about the war, or think it’s less important. I don’t. But the inequality of our health care “system” has been a war in and of itself. It’s a war that has cost our government billions, has put millions of Americans needlessly into debt, and has caused angst and heartache at the kitchen tables of so many.

It’s between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. How are their health care plans different?

Both plans require that private insurers offer policies to everyone, regardless of medical history. Both also allow people to buy into government-offered insurance instead.

And both plans seek to make insurance affordable to lower-income Americans. The Clinton plan is, however, more explicit about affordability, promising to limit insurance costs as a percentage of family income. And it also seems to include more funds for subsidies.

But the big difference is mandates: the Clinton plan requires that everyone have insurance; the Obama plan doesn’t.

But what’s wrong with Obama’s plan?

Mr. Obama claims that people will buy insurance if it becomes affordable. Unfortunately, the evidence says otherwise.

After all, we already have programs that make health insurance free or very cheap to many low-income Americans, without requiring that they sign up. And many of those eligible fail, for whatever reason, to enroll.

An Obama-type plan would also face the problem of healthy people who decide to take their chances or don’t sign up until they develop medical problems, thereby raising premiums for everyone else.

Every person needs health care, and mandating it is the only way to get it done. What Obama is offering is a system that is signifigantly flawed, right out of the gate.

Krugman continues:

But while it’s easy to see how the Clinton plan could end up being eviscerated, it’s hard to see how the hole in the Obama plan can be repaired. Why? Because Mr. Obama’s campaigning on the health care issue has sabotaged his own prospects.

You see, the Obama campaign has demonized the idea of mandates — most recently in a scare-tactics mailer sent to voters that bears a striking resemblance to the “Harry and Louise” ads run by the insurance lobby in 1993, ads that helped undermine our last chance at getting universal health care.

Obama’s political sensibility is so fucked up that I bet he doesn’t understand the nature of the health care debate. It is going to be a knock down, drag out fight, and if Obama’s health care plan isn’t ready to go in Day 1, then he’s going to get hosed.

Comments

  1. 1

    Creighton Baril spews:

    Hope and change can best be enabled by everyone having medical insurance. Think of it this way: It’s a great way to leave a bad employer and not put yourself and your family’s health at risk.

  2. 3

    correctnotright spews:

    Here is how your reasoning is faulty Will:

    QWhat is the largest drain on the national budget that will prevent any national contribution to health care?

    The war in Iraq.

    Who voted the wrong way on the war in Iraq: Hillary
    Who failed to get health care passed once arleady? Hillary
    Who cannot explain how they will make their own health care plan mandatory? Hillary

    If you want fuzzy thinking on health care and no results – vote Hillary. Of courswe she is better than any republicans – but her track record is poor and she won’t give you the results you want.

  3. 4

    correctnotright spews:

    And Will: Krugman has shown his stripes on this debate early – he has been consistently opposed to Obama – even when other writers have pointed out his faulty reasoning on his heatlth care analysis – Krugman is simply not objective here.

  4. 5

    lorax spews:

    If it weren’t for Obama’s weak, panderific health care plan, I’d be totally for him at this point. Because he sold out a core Democratic value here and continue to attack universal health care for political advantage, I’m on the fence.

  5. 6

    Creighton Baril spews:

    re 4– Obama’s fuzzy view of recent American history buys into the vieew that Ronald Reagan was an inspirational figure with new ideas.

    Yeah…. If you find the views of 1890’s Robber Barons to be new and inspirational. I don’t think Obama has a good grasp of American history, given the fact that without the ‘excesses’ of the ’60’s, he’d probably not be voting right now, let alone running for president.

  6. 7

    spews:

    @ 4

    You know, maybe he IS biased, but he’s still right.

    Is Krugman lying about mandates? Is he lying about Obama’s Harry and Louise-type ads?

  7. 8

    correctnotright spews:

    @6: Crieghton – sorry, wake up and actually read the quote about Reagan (and stop with the Hillary fals e talking points) – Reagan did change things MORE than Bill Clinton – so what? that is all that was said – and Bill got his knickers up over that remark.

    What did Obama say in 2002 versus Hillary about the war in Iraq? The single most important issue in our time (the unecessary war in Iraq) – more important than HEALTH CARE! The reason our economy stinks, why we can’t pay for education, health care or research etc…Hillary quoted directly from Cheney about Al qaeda in Iraq – while Obama said that Sadaam was a bad guy but that he was no threat and would collapse on his own.

    Gee – who has the better grasp of history and who was pandering politically?

  8. 9

    correctnotright spews:

    @7: Until Hillary can explain how she will make health care mandatory – she also does not have universal coverage – Has Krugman explained that?

    Hillary could not explain the mechanism for making health care mandatory in a recent interview….

  9. 10

    The Anti-Headless Lucy spews:

    #4correctnotright says:

    Krugman is simply not objective here.

      
    The ex-enron advisor not being objective? Isn’t that what conservatives have been saying for years, it’s about time you caught up.

  10. 11

    DustinJames spews:

    This is what I have been pounding for the past couple of months since Obama came out with his health care plan. True, Hillary does not say what her individual mandate is going to be, but the fact of the matter is that Obama does not include an individual mandate in his plan, and said in the debates that his health care plan will not include one, but he may look into it in the future.

    Rank and file democratic voters are going to be disallusioned with his plan when they learn that up to 25 million of them won’t be covered. This is why, overall, Hillary does better in primaries than she does with Caucuses because the rank and file vote for her, while the elite just drool over Obama, and I’m not sure why, beyond the fact that he’s a great Orator.

    Look what we got when the U.S. elected the last President based on ‘hope’ vs federal experience – we got George W Bush. We need someone in there now who can get the job done, on day 1, and not make the rookie mistakes of someone with only 4 years of experience on the Federal level.

    Who has a truly Universal healthcare package that includes an individual mandate – Hillary Clinton?

    Who isn’t trying to pass an estimated $1,300,000,000,000 (yes, that’s 1.3 trillion dollars) social security fix on the backs of many middle class americans – Hillary Clinton?

    Who isn’t trying to pass an estimated $1,300,000,000,000 (yes, that’s 1.3 trillion dollars) social security fix on the backs of many middle class americans – Hillary Clinton?

    Who is the Pro-Choice candidate endorsed by NOW, primarily because of Obama’s wobbly ‘Maybe’ votes on issues as an Illinois State Leglisator – Hillary Clinton

    Who can we trust to not duck out on tough issues and not give a ‘Maybe’ to every 1 out of 31 times the President has to make a decision? – Hillary Clinton

    And finally, who is the only candidate that has called for a mortatorium on foreclosures to prevent working class people from being booted from their houses because of the subprime fiasco and the documented predatory lending. – Hillary Clinton

    FYI – Mr. Obama, from the Wall Street Journal, and I quote the WSJ here: “opposes making laws to force such moves.”

    Vote Hillary Clinton ’08.

  11. 12

    eponymous coward spews:

    There are other economists who are arguing that a mandate isn’t the ONLY way to do this.

    I do tend to agree about Hillary’s health care plan being better than Obama’s. However, that’s not swaying me when it comes to the difference between Hillary’s past history on Iraq versus Obama’s, as well as their positions on Cuba and Iran. In addition, Congress has more of a say when it comes to health care than foreign policy.

  12. 13

    eponymous coward spews:

    Dustin @ 11:

    Who has hackneyed attack lines that are misleading? Hillary Clinton and her supporters. Most of these are bogus attack lines straight from campaign HQ.

    This is why, overall, Hillary does better in primaries than she does with Caucuses because the rank and file vote for her, while the elite just drool over Obama, and I’m not sure why, beyond the fact that he’s a great Orator.

    You realize, of course, that in total votes cast on Super Tuesday, Obama and Clinton are neck and neck, right? Yeah, Hillary had a handful more, but it’s pretty darn close.

    Every so often I feel sympathetic towards Hillary, especially since she gets a very raw deal in the media. Why can’t this be a race between two good candidates instead of “My candidate rules, your candidate sucks”?

    I’ve pretty much gone into the Obama camp based on various factors (I like his approach on foreign policy better than Clinton’s better health care plan), but it’s not a HUGE preference. I think both of them are far superior to John McCain… but I get awfully annoyed when people aren’t thoughtful and instead vomit up spin from campaigns, and it feels like the Clinton supporters do that a lot.

  13. 14

    correctnotright spews:

    I also note that Hillary voted AGAINST the key amendments on earmark reform and Obama voted FOR them.

    “This was a moment of truth. Who supported Washington’s business as usual, and who wanted to change things, fulfill the voters’ desire of cleaning up Washington, and was willing to defy the leadership in Washington?

    The roll call does not lie:

    Among those voting no were Webb, Tester, Feingold, Kerry, and Obama.

    Among those who agreed with Reid that most earmarks should be kept secret as to who sponsored them: Clinton, and even Obama’s senior colleague from Illinois, Dick Durbin. There are even more disappointing names in the roll call which you can find at the link.

    Let’s be clear here: this was not just about crossing Reid and playing hero for a day. Obama and the other brave Democrats prevented the leadership from making a huge mistake, which would have given the Republicans endless ammunition. The only reason Democrats have bragging rights on the “most sweeping ethics reform in history” is because a few brave Democrats stood up and made it so. The next day, Reid saw the writing on the wall, and accepted the tougher earmark reform.”

    Quoted from dKos
    http://www.dailykos.com/storyo.....766/451817

    This goes right to judgement and voting in the Senate and Hillary comes up short again.

    Hillary has taken a number of questionable stands (Iraq War, earmark reform among others – she is definitely the status quo candidate.

    So if you like the Iraq war results, like the present level of corruption and corporate influence, like a health care plan that will NOT pass – then vote for Hillary because those are the things she enables.

  14. 15

    YLB spews:

    I’m caucusing for Obama willing to give him the benefit of the doubt on health care.

    We badly need a world leader. We need a guy who can rise to the challenge of leading this country in the emerging tri-polar world of the EU, China and N/S America. Obama not only looks and speaks like a man from this country, he looks and speaks like a man of the World.

    Yes, the priority IS the Occupation, untangling ourselves from that horrible mistake so we can compete successfully in this new emerging tri-polar world where the battleground is in the ever shifting alliances being made between the three major powers and the emerging “second world” countries like Brazil, Venezuela, Nigeria, Angola, the “stans”, the Baltics and Eastern Europe.

    As much as I’d like to see a woman cut through the crap men have brought in this country, I see Hillary as too bogged down in the old fights and the old ways of the nineties.

    A break with the past is long overdue. I like Obama’s message of a new politics.

    A sparkling, new health care program won’t happen overnight. A lot of overhang from the old corrupt regime has to be cleared out of the way first. Nothing is going to be easy as some are promising.

    Yes, I read that New York Times Magazine article and I urge you all to read it too:

    http://tinyurl.com/2hse3b

  15. 16

    ewp spews:

    I agree wholeheatedly that universal healthcare coverage is the single most important domestic issue for the next administration. Obama’s “I’ll bring everyone to the table to work out a plan” approach runs the very high risk of failure, since it’s essentially what was tried during the Clinton administration. The administrative machine that makes gobs of money off the current system will not give up without a fight. The US currently spends vastly more per person on healthcare, yet still leaves over 40 Million people without any coverage at all, and tens of millions of others with inadequate coverage. The number one reason for filing bankruptcy is massive medical bills. If the Democratic party is to restore faith in government, it must be able to effectively address this issue. By all measures, Clinton’s plan is more cost effective, and will get us to 100% coverage. She’s been through this before, and at this point I trust her to be successful on this issue more so than I trust Obama.

  16. 17

    DustinJames spews:

    Eponymous @ 13: “Why can’t this be a race between two good candidates instead of “My candidate rules, your candidate sucks”?”

    74% of those surveyed in the exit polls have said that if their candidate didn’t make it, they would be satisfied with the other.

    I don’t think anyone is saying that Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton is not a good candidate, certainly not me. Quite the contrary, which is why you see such a tight race. What I am doing is trying to contrast on why I think Hillary Clinton is the best candidate, and sometimes that involves compare and contrast between the two candidates positions on issues.

  17. 18

    spews:

    Robert Reich, former Clinton administration Secretary of Labor,long ago debunked your arguments about the Obama health insurance plan somehow being inferior to Hillary plan. He also defends Obama’s plan against the subsequent NYT Krugman hatchet job attacks. To quote the Reich post:

    “Will someone please explain to me why Paul Krugman has it in for Barack Obama? And why the Times oped page continues to devote its prime real estate to Krugman’s repeated attack? Here he is again today, for the third time in two months, excoriating Obama for compromising too much with insurance companies and drug companies in his health care plan, without mentioning that (1) HRC’s health care plan compromises at least as much, (2) all the leading Democratic plans are basically the same apart from mandates, which would apply to a tiny fraction of the currently uninsured, and (3) Obama’s may be marginally better than HRC’s if he’s correct in judging that the most of the currently uninsured couldn’t afford to pay HRC’s mandate anyway.”

    for further debunking of who’s plan is best check out: http://robertreich.blogspot.co.....-over.html

  18. 19

    correctnotright spews:

    ewp: so Hillary has failed miserably before on health care and now you trust her on health care because….? maybe it was HOW she went about it that was the problem – maybe we need someone not as divisve to actually get health care passed.

    If she can’t explain her own mandatory requirements – how can she sell the health care plan to the entire country?

    If she is unelectable – how will that get us to health care?

  19. 20

    ewp spews:

    I like both candidates. But universal healthcare coverage is so important to me, it causes me to lean toward supporting Clinton. I think, and most polls confirm, that most Democrats would be happy with either Obama or Clinton as President. Who in their right mind would doubt that they would both make far superior Presidents than GW Bush. What’s disturbing is those who have become so emotionally wrapped up with one particular candidate that they say things like, if so and so wins the nomination there is no way I’ll vote for them. That is so profoundly stupid it defies logic. If you prefer Clinton or Obama, but they’re not nominated you’d seriously rather have McCain as the President. Didn’t we learn our lesson when disgruntled people in our party said there was no difference between Gore and Bush, so they encouraged us to vote for Nader. That didn’t turn out so well did it? In the end we need to all rally around the candidate our party nominates and ensure an end to the GOP mismanagement of our government, and abuse of our reputation in the world.

  20. 25

    DustinJames spews:

    The real issue is that her plan has a lot more specific than Obama’s, while true, both her and John Edward’s plans do/did not say specifically how the mandate would be enforced.

    Most of the experts agree, although there are detractors including the one blog you point out from above, but most agree that Hillary’s Health Care proposal is far more inclusive and comprehensive than Obama’s, and would cost less.

    At the time of her 1994 health care plan, she was First Lady. She had no vote, no position of power, she did not have the same advantages that are given to a Senator / Representative / President, other than gaining executive office experience by being involved in the issues and being a close advisor and confidant. In 1994, the Republicans held huge advantages in the House and Senate, and were damn sure to make sure that nothing remotely progressive would get through Congress. What can you expect from someone with a good idea but without the direct power to get it done in a very hostile environment.

    She still has great ideas, and now they are even more sharpened, but this time, electing her as commander-in-cheif, she will be able to exert the gravitas onto congress to get things done, similar to how Bill did it with the federal shutdown because of the budget dispute with Congress.

  21. 26

    Creighton Baril spews:

    re 8: I watched and listened as Obama deliverd his little lesson about the wonders of the Reagan years. I also read the entire transcript later.

    Obama said what I said he said — and if you want a little mental pick-me-up for yourself, you can provide us with a link to the transcript of what he said.

  22. 27

    Creighton Baril spews:

    “I think it’s fair to say the Republicans were the party of ideas for a pretty long chunk of time there over the last ten, fifteen years, in the sense that they were challenging conventional wisdom.” Barack Obama

    Well, I don’t think it’s fair to say that. It is just flat out wrong — and stupid. We’ve just had 7 years of stupid.

  23. 28

    Creighton Baril spews:

    People who run in traffic are “…challenging conventional wisdom.” But I wouldn’t necessarily say the were the people with all the new ideas.

  24. 29

    correctnotright spews:

    @25: that is not “one blog” – that is Robert Reich – Secretary in the CLINTON administration.

    the bottom line is that both the health care plans are very similar (and very difernt from McCain’s) – that Hillary can’t explain how she will get to mandatory coverage – and that Hillary is less electable.

    Hillary has also voted the WRONG way on a number of issues that call into question either her judgement or her values – Iraq and earmarks being specific examples.

    John Edwards main point was that we needed to stop doing business as usual with lobbyists – Hillary is NOT an agent of change for rooting out corruption.

  25. 30

    YLB spews:

    Will someone please explain to me why Paul Krugman has it in for Barack Obama?

    Easy. Krugman doesn’t like Obama’s economic advisers.

    I’m not too keen on them either but I heard one of them, Austan Goolsbe, say on the radio the other day that the Bush tax cuts for the rich should expire.

    Good call.

  26. 31

    correctnotright spews:

    @26: the actual quote:

    “Ronald Reagan changed the trajectory of America in a way that Richard Nixon did not, and a way that Bill Clinton did not”

    Raad into what you will – but if you have actually listened to Obama speak or gone to his website – you would see that he was speaking realistically about how change occurs in this country – and Hillary won’t change things in this country.

    Obama was not saying he agreed with what Reagan did – just that he galvanized change and he communicated and led – even though the result was huge deficits, increases in defense spending and cuts in vital services to the poor.

  27. 32

    correctnotright spews:

    As to your point about Obama being naive about history:

    “You know, it’s a sad point in our history when a presidential candidate cannot look back over the course of our history and show admiration for a president who did what he said. He didn’t really say that he had better ideas, he said that he had transformed the country, created a conservative movement. Now, I can understand why Edwards and Hillary take that point up, but I think what’s happening here is that Hillary has a sense of playing to the base, as Edwards was, and the base doesn’t like Ronald Reagan. They don’t like Bush. But what Obama was trying to say was, if you want a transformative presidency, if you want somebody who is going to be able, as Teddy Roosevelt was, as FDR was, as perhaps John Kennedy was, to inspire and move the country forward, you’ve got to have those skills that Ronald Reagan had. It’s an historical fact! There was nothing wrong with saying that.

    Doris Kearns Goodwin – an actual HISTORIAN.

  28. 33

    ewp spews:

    @ 29 Your statement that Hillary is less electable is your opinion. The fact is that she has run for senate in NY twice and won convincing victories both times. I seem to recall a number of right wing talking heads say she wasn’t electable when she first announced a run for the Senate. They were wrong because they transposed their personal opinions of her onto the electorate. Fortunately the voters get to say who’s electable and who’s not, regardless of what the pundits say. Let’s remember that Obama has won a single senate race, and that was against Alan Keyes, someone who didn’t even live in the state he was running to represent, and someone who’s positions are so far right he couldn’t even get GOP support for his campaign. So before you buy into the Hillary isn’t electable meme, remember she’s proven twice that she can get elected to office in a large and diverse state.

  29. 34

    Creighton Baril spews:

    re 31: “I think it’s fair to say the Republicans were the party of ideas for a pretty long chunk of time there over the last ten, fifteen years, in the sense that they were challenging conventional wisdom.” Barack Obama

    My quote is the actual quote, as well. You pick a little modifying phrase and twist it to say that Barack Obama did not say what he clearly just said.

    I didn’t put those words in his mouth.

  30. 35

    Creighton Baril spews:

    “I think it’s fair to say THE REPUBLICANS WERE THE PARTY OF IDEAS FOR A PRETTY LONG CHUNK OF TIME THERE OVER THE LAST TEN, FIFTEEN YEARS, in the sense that they were challenging conventional wisdom.” Barack Obama

    What was the “conventional wisdom” that they were challenging? The Republicans were the apotheosis of conventional wisdom — as the Gipper’s kickoff point for his first successful presidential run shows.

    That’s what I mean about Obama’s fuzzy view of history. But maybe my old 60’s excesses about being against murdering people in the name of racial repression is out of step with the future?

  31. 36

    correctnotright spews:

    @34: That is NOT the Reagan quote – and yes, the republicans had more ideas for a while – doesn’t mean they were good ones.

    @33: Look at the polls versus the presumptive republican nominee – McCain. Hillary does worse than Obama in most every poll (so it is NOT my opinion) – why should we put up a loser as the democratic nominee when we can put up a winner.

    Hillary loses because she is perceived as a non-straight talker (compare to the false description of McCain).

    Hillary can’t argue on Iraq as forcefully – she is complicit.

    Hillary can’t argue on campaign finance reform as forcefully – she is complicit.

    Take away two of the major issues to win the election for democrats and Hillary is left with…not so much to argue – just abortion and the supreme court – she won’t sway too many independents with those issues.

  32. 37

    Creighton Baril spews:

    Invading Grenada is just the sort of cheezy Reaganistic crappola that made the ‘bestest generation ever’ feel like they were walkin’ tall agin’!

    They couldn’t get more than 50,000 of there own kids murdered in Vietnam, but Grenada made them feel like kings among men once again.

    You are correct that you are not correct.

  33. 38

    correctnotright spews:

    @35: Stop repeating Hillary’s talking points and read:

    “He didn’t really say that he had better ideas, he said that he had transformed the country, created a conservative movement.”

    Read Goodwin above….

  34. 39

    eponymous coward spews:

    We need someone in there now who can get the job done, on day 1, and not make the rookie mistakes of someone with only 4 years of experience on the Federal level.

    Abraham Lincoln’s experience in elective statewide office: 0 years (he was a one-term Congressman and unsuccessful Senate candidate).

    Teddy Roosevelt’s experience in elective statewide AND federal office: less then three years (2 years as governor, less than one year as vice-president).

    FDR’s experience in elective statewide office: four years as New York governor (and one unsuccessful run for VP).

    The moral of the story is that great presidents don’t always spend a long time in the minor leagues running for office. That doesn’t mean Obama is going to be great; what it means is that spending X number of years in the Senate or as a governor isn’t always the best way to determine if someone is the best option.

    Besides, if we judge on THAT score, Hillary and Obama BOTH fail compared to McCain and Richardson.

    Let’s remember that Obama has won a single senate race, and that was against Alan Keyes, someone who didn’t even live in the state he was running to represent

    Um, Obama won a contested primary for the Senate (unlike Hillary, who was also married to the sitting US President when she was elected to the Senate)- and he beat someone who held a statewide office (Illinois Comptroller Dan Hynes) to win that primary. FAIL.

    In 1994, the Republicans held huge advantages in the House and Senate, and were damn sure to make sure that nothing remotely progressive would get through Congress.

    Um, the Republicans didn’t control Congress until AFTER the 1994 elections. That Congress was seated in 1995. FAIL.

    Anyway, I think you can reasonably assert that Obama’s plan isn’t as bad as Krugman makes it out to be (if you take Dean Baker and Robert Reich seriously). The experience argument just fails to move me. What else is there?

  35. 40

    Creighton Baril spews:

    re 36: Putting another uninformed figurehead in the White House does not inspire many of us Boomers to hope. I do not think that a man who does not comprehend current events can lead this nation anywhere except to disappointment and a return to the ‘sound values’ of the Republicans.

    Our Slogan is: “Progressive Boomers: Older, Wiser, Stronger, and Numerous!”

  36. 41

    Creighton Baril spews:

    And by the way, there would NOT have been any civil rights legislation without the considerable legislative and political skill and experience of Lyndon Baines Johnson.

  37. 42

    ewp spews:

    @ 36 polls this early aren’t worth the paper they’re printed on. Just ask Guiliani, the polls fav to be the GOP nominee, that is before actual people cast actual votes. The fact is that Clinton won her first senate race with 55% of the vote. Her second race she won with 67% of the vote and lost only 4 of NY’s 62 counties. That’s a demonstrated ability to win in a large and diverse state. I’m just saying that going around saying Hillary is unelectable is factually innaccurate and not particularly productive in our process toward selecting a candidate.

  38. 43

    Creighton Baril spews:

    FDR was Secretary of the Navy prior to his presidency. He knew where all the bones were buried.

  39. 44

    eponymous coward spews:

    FDR was Secretary of the Navy prior to his presidency. He knew where all the bones were buried.

    So was TR (who also did time in the Federal Civil Service commission and NYC Police Commissioner)…. but where does Obama’s Illinois Senate career fit in? (For the record, TR and FDR were state legislators as well, something they have in common with Lincoln and Obama.) His experience doing community organizing sure matches up with some of Hillary’s work, too.

    And like I said, BOTH Hillary AND Obama fail compared to Richardson (who had legislative, gubernatorial AND executive branch experience, as well as diplomatic experience)… and Edwards had LESS elective experience than Obama in 2004 (4 years of his ONLY Senate term), but somehow John Kerry was willing to have the guy one heartbeat away from the Presidency.

    LBJ had a great Senate career that blows Hillary or Obama away, and if Hillary does half as well with health care as LBJ did with civil rights/Medicare/Medicaid/the “Great Society”, she’ll be doing well… and he still fucked up in Vietnam (and came off as the “sensible” option compared to a US Senator from Arizona, to boot). So again, experience isn’t everything.

  40. 45

    spews:

    @44
    All arguments over experience should begin and end with the fact that the two most experienced people in government at the beginning of 2001 were Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld.

  41. 46

    correctnotright spews:

    @41: If you want to cite Lyndon Johnson to compare to the experience of Hillary – go ahead. He kind of had a problem with the Vietnam war, decided not to even run for a second term and almost wrecked the democratic party – but hey – he was experienced from day 1.

    sorry – you have NO case. No case on health care, no case on judgement and no case on experience or electability.

    Since we now know the presumptive republican nominee – the polls now start to matter a great deal more and Hillary doesn’t do well afgainst McCain and her numbers have a tight ceiling due to large negatives….so ewp – polls DO matter and they don’t change that drastically at this point – especailly for a figure as polarizing as Hillary.

    Face it – you are putting the democrats at a disadvantage politicaly by supporting Hillary over Obama. I have yet to see, clearly stated, any advantages of Hillary (except the specious “experience” issue) over Obama.
    I see a great deal of negatives:

    Iraq
    earmarks
    bill spouting off
    clinton dynasty
    lack of likeability
    divisiveness

    I would still vote for her over any republican – but she will not mobilize the youth, attract independents or help democrats elect a majority in the congress – so what are the advantages to Hillary? Not health care – she already messed that up once.

  42. 47

    correctnotright spews:

    @45: Yup – good one Lee – and look where the experience of Cheney and Rumsfeld got us – an unnecessary war that is bankrupting our country.

    Hubris: They thought they knew better and that we could do anything we wanted with our military (without going through the United nations).

    They got nothin’ on the Greeks. Where is the Thucydides of today when you need him? Um – dead for over 1,000 years but still….

  43. 48

    spews:

    Come on Will,

    Aren’t you being a bit transparent here. You side step the glaring judgment error made by Senator Clinton in authorizing the war in Iraq, an error that will have adverse impacts for the U.S. for generations and an error she repeated in September of 2007 when she voted for Kyl/Lieberman, and instead focus on a “wonky” dispute about whose health care plan is better. Let’s focus on the donut and not the hole here. The best health care system in the world is not going to benefit us much if the next president takes us into another disasterous war. No?

    Both candidates are committed to improving the health care system, the real difference is that one candidate has shown extremely poor judgment when it comes to starting wars and the other has not.

  44. 50

    Richard Pope spews:

    I am afraid that Hillary Clinton’s so-called “plan” is to require people to buy health insurance, regardless of whether or not they can afford it. And if they don’t buy the insurance, then garnish their wages to pay for it, even if this leaves them little or nothing to live on.

    For example, health insurance for a 61 year old man can cost over $18,000 per year. And there is also a possibility of up to $2,000 per year or more in deductibles, co-pays and co-insurance.

    However, $10,400 per year (before taxes) is considered to be a “poverty level” income for a single person in 2008. So someone could be forced to pay out twice the poverty level income for health insurance under Clinton’s “mandatory coverage” proposal.

  45. 51

    Richard Pope spews:

    Moreover, Hillary Clinton says absolutely nothing about helping the disadavantaged in our society: folks with physical disabilities, developmental disabilities, and mental illness. Clinton has proposed absolutely NOTHING to provide health insurance for these conditions.

    Barack Obama, by contrast, is making coverage of physical disabilities, developmental disabilities, and mental illness a central theme of his health care proposal:

    http://www.barackobama.com/issues/healthcare/

    You can expect a union-busting corporate lawyer (and Wal-Mart board member) like Clinton to promote the moneyed interests, by requiring everyone (except the poorest people) to purchase policies from health insurance companies, while maximizing these insurance companies’ profits by allowing them to continue excluding physical disabilities, developmental disabilities, and mental illness from their coverage.

    Barack Obama, as a former civil rights lawyer and being from a historically oppressed minority group, is naturally more sympathetic for helping out the disadvantaged in our society, as opposed to strictly supported the moneyed and powerful special interests.

  46. 53

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    No health care reform will be successful unless it gets private insurance out of the picture. Insurance companies are the bloodsuckers who are sinking our health care system. They take 25% of your health care dollars while delivering no health care and adding no value. By contrast, the government-run Medicare program’s A & O (administration and overhead) costs are 1/50th as much, at 1/2 of 1% of spending.

    It’s obvious where the cash hemorrhage is, and where we have to get the money, if we’re going to cover everyone and improve care while lowering overall costs — we have to end the insurance gravy train.

    Any reform that keeps private insurance in the equation should be considered a transition strategy to a single payer system. We can keep private hospitals and doctors, and doctor choice, but private insurance has to go — it’s too expensive, abuses consumers, and wastes oceans of money.

  47. 54

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    Once again, Obama demonstrates a naivete and lack of experience that will make him cannon fodder for the special interests running our country into the ground. I don’t trust him on Social Security, either. The way youngsters fawn over this Pied Piper you’d think he’s promised to euthanize everyone over 62 so they won’t have to pay Social Security taxes.

  48. 55

    Richard Pope spews:

    Roger Rabbit @ 53

    Excellent point, but your favorite Hillary Clinton is the best friend of the private insurance company. Her 1993 health care plan was developed in closed-door meetings with private insurance company representatives, and would have resulted in billions of dollars in additional profits for these companies — together with limitations on their tort liabilities. Clinton’s current “universal” health care plan would make the coverage “universal” by garnishing people to buy private health insurance policies, even if the person cannot afford the premiums and doesn’t have enough money left over to live on.

    Barack Obama’s health plan actually doesn’t address everyone, but he would at least leave alone people who make too much money to qualify for a government health insurance subsidy, but would still not be able to afford health insurance premiums.

    Roger — you complain that Washington state retiree group premiums are expensive for you each month. Can you imagine having to pay the Washington State Health Insurance Pool premiums for your age category (assuming you were not age-eligible for Medicare)? This is what Clinton’s plan would do to people who exceed 300% of federal poverty level income, and therefore wouldn’t qualify for insurance subsidies. The results will be particularly devastating to single persons 61 to 64 with health problems that place them in an assigned-risk pool.

  49. 56

    spews:

    In re DustinJames

    Dustin, a number of your facts are simply incorrect:

    Hillary…individual mandate (vs) Obama …not include an individual mandate

    Both plans mandate coverage under age 26. This is the age when many folks are likely to resist paying insurance. The Obama plan addresses everything above 56 and outside of Medicare by creating an affordable option. The Clinton plan is very similar except that it would somehow force people to pay for insurance, presumably by something like the FICA.

    There are reasonable arguments for both. Obama’s plan would address a huge part of the issue very rapidly AND force changes in structure of health care (since the Feds now become the #1 payer)likely to be needed if we are to move (as wel will) to single payer. HRC’s plan is more efficient because it effectively taxes the healthy or wealthy to pay for the rest of us. To accomplish this, however, she MUST create an entire new form of taxation and there are a lot of worrisome issues. E.g. will the Medical Insurance tax. like FICA, be regressive?

    Unfortunately, the nature of debate is that these issues are reduced to slogans.

    that up to 25 million of them won’t be covered.

    This is utter BS. Everyone who wants to be covered under Obama will be. Some folks will not want to be covered. This results in a higher cost for the rest of us. The real issue is whether folks who do nto want converage will be required to. Hillary wants to force these people, tax them in effect, just as wealthy folks are forced to pay social security.

    This is why, overall, Hillary does better in primaries than she does with Caucuses because the rank and file vote for her, while the elite just drool over Obama, and I’m not sure why, beyond the fact that he’s a great Orator.

    WOW is this 60s or not? In other words only the hoi poloi can make wise decisions. Tovarsich! you win the Mao award!
    True BHO is not aonly a great orator, he actually writes his own speeches, This suggests he has some intellect she lacks.

    Actually polling says the division by privilidge is crap. Hillary does better than BHO among older people who overwhelmingly state they believe this is some sort of restoration. She also does well with Hispanics, partly because there is no ethnic loyalty by Hispanics toward an AA.

    Wha?????? You mean the playboy who claimed to be a businessman??? If you want to throw muck by comparison to lil Bush, how about these:

    Which candidate grew up in a life of privilige being told she or he had a right to certain sttaus? Bush and ……..

    Which candidate claims to be coming to restore past glory?

    Which candidate has spent 35 years supported largely by work for corporate America? Bush and ……..

    Which candidate relies on others to write speeches? Bush and ……..

    Which candidate raises money from a small cadre of well to do? Bush and ……..

    Which candidate grew up in a hard core Republican home and worked for election of Repubicans as a youth> Bush and ……..

    Of course both Bush and Barack have two daughters! They are both tall, both are deficient in the possession of breasts or vaginas. They are also taller than HRC.

    This kind of thing is foolish. BHO and HRC are both talented folks, each offers something the other does not. You ought to be able to make a choice without this sort of crap,

    We need someone in there now who can get the job done, on day 1, and not make the rookie mistakes of someone with only 4 years of experience on the Federal level.

    NOW we have somethig to discuss. Like you I value HRC’s experience and her machine. The first 12 months of 2009 will be hell. I do think she has a better chance or reprovsioning the perssonel that feed our system.

    OTOH, Hillary has a very bad record of choices of advisors and has NEVER been successful at any major effort to change things (other than some education work she did pro bon in Araknasas.)

    HRC likely advisors:

    I worry about the possibility that she will choose Mark Penn for a high level adviser. This turkey nay have cost her the race. His arrogance rivals Roves.

    Ira Magaziner, the FU who FUed Hillary Healthcare, is still heading the Clinton policy group.

    Madeline Albright … her heritage is only intact because of the utter FU of the Bush regime.

    Financial advisors, HRC is either pandering or has found someone worthy of Bush when she proposes a mortatorium on foreclosures to prevent working class people from being booted from their houses because of the subprime fiasco and the documented predatory lending. SOMEONE needs to pay the bills. If you block the banks form collecting money and do not subsidize them, they go broke OR the interest rates on anyone needing a new loan will go through the roof. You might ask yourself which of Bill’s former major advisers is backing her .. neither Rubin (who has not endorsed anyone) not Reich (who supports BHO).

    Bill Clinton!!!!!!!!! I like hom but he has refused to give up his foundation. That means the first spouse would have independent roles represneting the uS in places like Khazahastan where Bill recently arranged a dela that got a dictator recignized as a human right leader while Bill’s buddy gyt asweet contract for mining rights and Bill’s foundation got a large gift for charity. Bill may be doing nothing wrong, but if Caesar;s wife must be above suspicion so must Hillary’s hubbie.

    Who is the Pro-Choice candidate endorsed by NOW, primarily because of Obama’s wobbly ‘Maybe’ votes on issues as an Illinois State Leglisator – Hillary Clinton

    This is utter BS. Obama’s record is pretty clear on this. Does anyone think either BHO or HRC would not stand up for this right?

    Unless you want to play Karl Rove, I urge everyone to leave this sort of monkey shit to Karl Rove. Throwing mud is stupid .. just ask Mr. Clinton how much he helped with his little forays in S. Carolina?

  50. 57

    spews:

    # ewp says:

    I agree wholeheatedly that universal healthcare coverage is the single most important domestic issue for the next administration. Obama’s “I’ll bring everyone to the table to work out a plan” approach runs the very high risk of failure, since it’s essentially what was tried during the Clinton administration.

    You got it ass backwards man. HRC and Ira Magaziner shut out the experts and other who could have helped pass her plan. EW.g Group Health was not invited.

    By all measures, Clinton’s plan is more cost effective, and will get us to 100% coverage.

    This suggest you have data no one has seen. These are two reasonable approaches. Experts differ on these issues. It is a dumb issue to divide your vote over.

  51. 61

    Noble spews:

    “Obama’s political sensibility is so fucked up that I bet he doesn’t understand the nature of the health care debate. It is going to be a knock down, drag out fight, and if Obama’s health care plan isn’t ready to go in Day 1, then he’s going to get hosed.”

    I will assume that you mean sensibility as it appears in the dictionary (“The ability to respond to complex emotional or aesthetic influences”). If Obama has proved anything, it’s that he has good “political sensibility.” He has gone from being a no-name state senator to being an Ohio and a Texas away from the presidency, mostly by respond to the complex emotional influences that are American politics.

    Maybe I am misinterpreting what you meant by that, but if so, you should make it a little clearer.

  52. 62

    G Davis spews:

    Will, I’m ashamed of you if you’re relying on Krugman for an honest critique.

    His political arguments have been all over the net along with analysis of same and the across the board sentiment is that he’s got a stick up his butt about Obama or he’s bucking for a job in the Clinton admin. He has been judged OVERTLY biased against all things Obama. Check it out…Ambinder, Ezra Klein, Huff Post, Kos, all of them will tell you so.

    That said, the only difference between the Clintons/Edwards and Obama’s plan is the mandate.

    The problem with mandates is are two fold.

    1) All the plans are based on the majority of the populace buying insurance through our existing for profit insurance industry. There is no way in hell mandates forcing people to buy a for profit product will EVER get through Congress. You can’t make a plan universal through mandates. It has to be single payer to be universal.

    2) Enforcement of mandates. You are correct, there will always be folks who don’t buy into any system. So what will you do to them if they don’t? Throw them in jail? Fine them?

    Clinton, when pressed, on This Week with George said there are a variety of enforcement methods. Pressed further her answer was garnishing wages, fines, etc.

    You tell me how far a system set up with forcing people to buy a for profit product and if you don’t we’re going to garnishee your wages will go with Congress.

    The problem most people have figuring this out is that they think the Prez will be elected and voila we’ll institute their particular plan. I know you’re smarter than that, but please…this thing has to get through Congress and will never come out looking like it went in.

    Obama’s plan is palpable to Congress. Obama’s plan offers very good, very low price plans to anyone that WANTS to buy it. Obama’s plan will come out of Congress very close to the way it went in. Obamas plan is the closest model to single payer and builds a basis for expansion to universal.

    In short, it’s a start. Is it perfect? No…but it stands a good chance of getting done, especially when his smooth tongue is presenting it.

    Clinton’s plan is poorly modeled, not progressive, will get mangled in Congress especially with her fight at all costs attitude presenting it.

    If you want a fair evaluation of the Clinton plan go to the Mass plan…they are nearly identical. It’s not working in Mass, even with increased federal subsidies and definately will not work nationally.
    http://boston.bizjournals.com/.....ily17.html

    California just squelched an attempt of their own based on the Mass plan. It will not pass.
    http://www.nytimes.com/2008/01.....ref=slogin

    Look, if we’re serious about universal care we can just open Medicare to everyone and lift the tax rate to pay for it. We will NOT get universal care without single payer. It will never pass as mandated and it will not pass at the moment as single payer.

    So we’re stuck. We can expand the SCHIP plan upwards agewise incrementally and get it that way, but that will take time.

    It’s so silly to be quibbling over mandates…the problem is much larger than that, and we’re getting tangled in the weeds over a moot point.

    Focus! ;0

  53. 63

    spews:

    After Clinton mandates that everyone is has health insurance, I think it’s only just and right that it be mandated that everyone have a house, food, a job, and/or a paycheck, if they are unable to work at a job due to a disability.

  54. 64

    Creighton Baril spews:

    If the X’ers don’t want to pay social security taxes, Boomers will stay in the job market and drive their wages down.

  55. 65

    rhp6033 spews:

    Comming late to this thread, I doubt anybody will read this comment, but for what it’s worth:

    Twenty years ago I thought the health care problem in this country was a product of unemployment. If we solved the unemployment problem, then everybody could have insurance.

    But now I’m convinced that the employment-based health care system is fundamentally flawed. It encourages employers to outsource overeas, or to reduce benefits (sales clerks strictly scheduled for no more than 34-1/2 hours of work, becuase at 35 they would be elgible for employer-paid health care). It handcuffs employees to bad jobs, solely because they can’t afford the loss or insurance, or gap in coverage, if they change jobs. It leaves out millions of Americans (and their families) who’s jobs don’t provide insurance benefits. It forces uninsured into the emergency rooms for basic health care, because they can’t even book an appointment with a doctor without proof of insurance coverate.

    I’ve seen the universal care model at work in Japan, and it works reasonably well. There’s no reason why we can’t provide similar basic coverage in the U.S., and if people want to pay for more bells and whistles on their own, they are free to do so.

    As the American population get gradually older, this problem will become more accute, not less so.

    In short, there is no reason why Americans shouldn’t receive the same health care plan that the government provides for our Congressmen and Senators.

    The Republican answer to health care? If Bush’s 2008-2009 budget is any indication, they agree with the private insurance companies, that the only reason people don’t buy private health insurance is because they know they can get it for free from the emergency room. They believe that if you cut off the poor from free emergency room aid, then those people will be buy health insurance, instead.

  56. 66

    Puddybud, A Prognosticator... spews:

    Creighton Baril and headless lucy share the same heroes because he’s the same guy.

    Don’t you donkeys get it?

  57. 67

    Puddybud, A Prognosticator... spews:

    G Davis: Most donkeys here think Paul Krugman walks on water. His own newspaper ombudsman discredited him…

  58. 68

    Creighton Baril spews:

    Mr. Pubbybub: Most prognosticators base their predictions on information and facts. You find a conclusion you feel good about, and then look for facts (no matter how dubious) to support your pre-supposition.

  59. 69

    ridovem spews:

    Re Krugman’s ‘analysis': ..”After all, we already have programs that make health insurance free or very cheap to many low-income Americans, without requiring that they sign up. And many of those eligible fail, for whatever reason, to enroll..”
    The State of Oregon just last month opened enrollment in their subsidized “safety net” (think “Wa Basic health”) insurance program- where they have room for about 5,000 enrollees- and are looking at a lottery to pick the ‘lucky ones’ out of somewhere above 75,000 people who called up to take part. Oregon hasn’t had the revenue to add anyone since 2005, I think… As much as I generally appreciate Krugman’s take on economic issues, this one may just bite him. ^..^