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A Clinton Shift in Selling Health Plan

When Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) introduced her health care proposal, she emphasized its centrist nature: a business-friendly model that would allow consumers maximum choice.

But as the first voting for the 2008 nomination looms, Clinton honed in this weekend with a more traditionally liberal aspect of her plan: It would require all people to get health insurance, with a goal of achieving universal health care.

"One of my opponents leaves 15 million people out," Clinton said in Sac City on Saturday, taking a swipe at Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) as she addressed a largely rural crowd at a local firehouse. "It's going to actually cascade and more and more people are going to be left out."

Her comments were a direct response to remarks Obama made earlier in the day, promoting his health care plan as the one aimed at reducing costs. He told an audience that his health plan would do more to lower costs "than any other proposal in this race." Obama has said that while he backs the goal of universal coverage, a goal many Democratic voters favor, he would not require people to buy insurance. Instead, he would encourage them to do so with more affordable plans. (His proposal does require insurance for children.)

"Cost is the number one reason that 47 million Americans do not have health insurance, and thousands more are edging toward bankruptcy every day," Obama told hundreds Saturday at the Council Bluffs high school. "That is wrong, and it's why my plan does more to cut the cost of health insurance than any other proposal in this race."

Both Clinton and former senator John Edwards (D-N.C.) call for requiring health care coverage for all, which both say is the only way to achieve universal coverage. The Edwards campaign on Saturday echoed Clinton's dismissal of the Obama program. "Any candidate touting their health care plan must first meet one simple test: Does it cover everyone?" said Eric Schultz, a spokesman for Edwards. "Senator Obama's plan falls woefully short by leaving 15 million Americans without care. In the midst of a health care crisis, anything short of universal is simply inadequate."

Clinton has not explained how her mandate would be enforced -- whether, for example, people will see their wages garnished if they do not purchase health care. Jay Carson, a Clinton spokesman, said she would "work with Congress on enforcement measures." A similar health care system is being implemented in Massachusetts, but thousands of state residents remain uninsured, raising questions about how it would work at the national level.

Obama, Clinton and Edwards remain locked in a close race in Iowa, according to a recent Washington Post-ABC News poll, where the Iowa caucuses will be held Jan. 3.

-- Anne E. Kornblut

By Post Editor  |  November 25, 2007; 4:18 PM ET
Categories:  B_Blog , Health Care , Hillary Rodham Clinton , Issues  
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a plan that mandates coverage is unworkable for obvious reasons. further, if it has a punitive side, it will just push more people away. affordability and access are the keystones. affordable coverage allows people to get more knowledge and adopt healthier lifestyles- which usually leads to better health, and use the coverage more effectively not just in a catastrophic situation.

Posted by: jacade | November 29, 2007 2:23 PM | Report abuse


6:00am: Wake up. Fart. Check whether Bill is back from the farmer's daughter.
7:00am: Poop and pick up the feces.
8:00am: Throw some at the republicans.
9:00am: Smear whatever is left in your hand on Obama.
10:00am: Fight with Bill.
11:00am: Go shop for pearls and diamonds.
12 noon: Lunch with James Carvel.
1:00pm: Call Norman Hsu in jail and promise him a pardon.
2:00pm: Call bank. Ask whether she has any bundles waiting for her.
3:00pm: Practice some southern accent. Go and con some old ladies.
4:00pm: Call the camp. Get questions for next days campaign.
5:00pm: Memorize answers for the next campaign stop.
6:00pm: Go have dinner in a restaurant. Dont pay tips.
7:00pm: Count the $$$ bundles from the dishwashers in a chinese restaurant.
8:00pm: Prepare mud for next days flinging.
9:00pm: Fart and call it a day.

Posted by: ChunkyMonkey1 | November 27, 2007 5:54 AM | Report abuse

Hillary is a socialist. Borrowing socialist principles and applying to our country is dangerous. Our country has been run for centuries by enterpreneurs and visionaries who did not mandate how we take care of our health. Government should not be in the business of enforcing how much air we breath, how much food we eat, and how much healthcare we should buy. That is why Obama's plan is a better fit for America. People who look at how healthcare is run in other countries like Cuba are forgetting one point. Countries like Cuba do not have people who are free to talk their mind about the poor healthcare they get. Those countries do not keep proper records of what is wrong with their system. If Hillary wants the goverment to mandate healthcare, she can run for president in Cuba.

Posted by: AliceFish | November 26, 2007 10:01 PM | Report abuse

I am curious about Elijah's comment. Could federally MANDATED health insurance be challenged in the courts as unconstitutional? Would tying it up in the courts for years because of the mandate part of the proposal actually keep health care reform from being inacted? Anyone know?

Posted by: feathered_head | November 26, 2007 7:13 AM | Report abuse

Hillary's Universal Health Care Plan is Unconstitutional

Our Constitution was created to prevent tyranny, thus it gave our federal government limited powers.
There is no provision in the constitution that would give the federal government power to mandate that people buy health insurance. First, health insurance is not like Car insurance because the later is associated with an article of commerce, which congress has power over under Article one of the Constitution to regulate. Second, since people are not required to purchase cars, no one really has to buy auto insurance. Also, Clinton's idea of making people buy health care would be like requiring people buy to guns, both would be unconstitutional.

Thus, Hillary health plan has already failed once before and would fail again. As a result, her rhetoric of Universal Health Care needs to stop. We need a president that's going to be honest and provide real solutions and not a president who just uses words to get peoples hopes up so they can win an election.

We don't need another Bush.

Posted by: Elijah2 | November 25, 2007 9:48 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, but my car insurance is $400 a year, but under Clinton's health insurance plan, i could be paying $400 a MONTH.

Posted by: julieds | November 25, 2007 8:20 PM | Report abuse

My heart goes out to Dennis Quaid and his family. And to Kanye West and his family. These are two unfortunate examples of why it is so important to end the Cancer of private for profit health care delivery in America. HR 676 Single Payer Universal Health Care (Medicare For All) is The Way to go. Like all other developed countries did years ago. See

You see, It's not just about the 47 million Americans that have no insurance. Or the 89 million who went without insurance part of the time from 2006-2007. It's about everyone. Private for profit health care delivery is not only highly immoral, and unethical. It is just down right dangerous, and bad medicine. That injures, and kills millions of Americans needlessly. Disgracefully. Shamefully.

These injuries, and deaths should not have happened. We only heard about them because it happened to celebrities. But these tragedies are happening to thousands of Americans every day in this country. But you don't hear about it. These thousands of needless deaths, and injuries of your loved ones are covered up. Under so-called patient confidentiality. Which is just health care industry speak for "don't tell anybody we injured, or killed another one".

See, no one is immune from the Cancer of private for profit health care delivery. Mr. Quaid's children were being cared for at a very renowned hospital. And I am sure Mr. Quaid probably has excellent insurance. And can afford the finest medical care available. But as it turned out. None of that mattered. Hospitals have always been potentially very dangerous places. But under the pressures of greed, and a rush to profit. All US hospitals have become extremely dangerous, deadly places. Like they were in the 18th century. When hospitals were primarily the place you went to DIE!

I don't know exactly how this tragedy to Mr. Quaid's babies happened. But I imagine it was the same scenario that plays out thousands of times every day across America. Driven by greed, and the profit motive hospitals cut corners as much as they can get away with. This means staff that is over worked. And under staffed. It means hiring the least experienced, and cheapest hospital staff you can get. And pushing out the more experienced safer higher paid staff.

They say the pharmacist stocked the wrong meds. And that the hospitals were warned about this problem months ago. After many other perfectly healthy new born babies were killed by this mistake. I wonder how many thousands of perfectly healthy babies were killed this way across America. And how many thousands are still being killed this way across America.

It should not have mattered what concentration of heparin the pharmacist stocked the medicine cabinets with. Because every one who administers drugs is supposed to have been taught to follow the (7 R's).

a. Right drug,

b. Right patient,

c. Right dose,

d. Right time,

e. Right route,

f. Right reason,

g. Right documentation,

This is just basic practice. A experienced person will check additional things. Before giving a patient a potentially deadly drug.

In anticipation of coming changes in our health care system. Thousands of patients are being killed at a fevered pitch. And millions injured, and poisoned with unnecessary medications, medical procedures, and surgery's. In an orgy of greed, and profiteering a head of proposed changes to our current disgraceful health care system.

HR. 676 Single Payer Universal National Health Care For All (Medicare For All) can fix this disgrace. Until then, I advise you to be careful of taking any recommended medical care at this time without doing your home work. And getting a good independent 2nd, or 3rd opinion. Especially if you have so-called good insurance coverage.

And If you have to receive medical care in, or out of a hospital. Try to have a knowledgeable family member or friend to keep an eye on what they are doing to you.

Good Luck...

Posted by: JackSmith1 | November 25, 2007 8:07 PM | Report abuse

rlffast, it's like auto insurance... you mayy whine about it, but you'll buy it.

Posted by: newagent99 | November 25, 2007 7:59 PM | Report abuse

Clinton and Edwards are dreaming. Their plan is to order me to buy insurance? There's no plan there at all. They're just copying Romney's failed idea. Everyone knows how to get universal health care - do it the same way as Canada and France and Britain and Germany and Japan and Norway and Sweden and Finland and Denmark and Italy and Israel and India and Australia and New Zealand and...

Posted by: rlfast | November 25, 2007 7:52 PM | Report abuse

If you want to get serious about universal health care, why aren't you also discussing the real alternative to the Clinton/Obama plans (which are basically the same)? Namely, the Kucinich plan for Non-Profit Universal Health Care. Clinton/Obama just provide complicated plans to subsidize the insurance companies.

Posted by: call6129 | November 25, 2007 6:50 PM | Report abuse

Katmitch, you want people to work FOUR jobs so they can pay for health insurance? Let's see.... 8 hour a day job multiplied times 4. I think that comes out to THIRTY TWO HOURS A DAY?? Excuse me if my math isn't perfect, but I think there's a problem here.

I'll bet Katmitch (1) has good health insurance, and (2) pays a very small perentage of its cost. OR, she's so young that her insurance is very inexpensive.

I'm a physician and I see people who are working TWO 8 hour a day jobs, are married, are trying to take care of children, and STILL can't possibly afford health insurance. Are you aware that health insurance for a family like that typically runs about $1200 per month? Even at two jobs, that's a BIG chunk out of one's take-home pay.

In a study done a couple of years ago, citizens of countries with socialized medicine were asked (1) Are you satisfied with your health care system? (A high percentage of negatives) and (2) Would you rather switch to the American system? (a landslide of NO!!!!!)

So, don't knock it till you've tried it. Medicare is, for example, socialized medicine. Go ahead and give up your anticipated Medicare benefits? Takers out there anywhere??


Posted by: overlarry | November 25, 2007 6:16 PM | Report abuse

Clinton and Edwards would force people who can't afford it to buy health insurance.

To me this shows how out of touch these multi millionaires are with the average American family.

Obama understands this. His plan will save costs and therefore make health insurance more affordable but will not punish those that can't afford even the lower cost.

Posted by: ESR1 | November 25, 2007 6:12 PM | Report abuse

I guess I'm in Newt Gingrich's camp: I'm tired of funding other folk's whatever! It's not constitutionally correct for any politician to promise that I pay for their socialistic programs! (see Yes, there is a problem with health care in this country; but based on a lot of other 'economic indicators' (e.g. mortgage loans bellying up because folks just don't want to pay for their responsibilities any more - or don't want to get a 3rd or 4th job to pay for their responsibilities if they lose their job!) that show how us Americans would rather pay for, lets see: cell phones, ipods, mp3 players, HDTV's - instead of being responsible themselves and budget! (hey, ain't that a novel idea?) I refuse to believe that purchasing health care is 'too expensive' for boils down to this: we'll pay for what we THINK is important. (It's not FUN to pay for things like that....what do I have to SHOW for it??) I'm tired of politicians promising other people my hard earned money.....I'll have to pay for it one way (taxes) or another (higher premiums)! Wake up America - FAST! Government programs keep people poor!

Posted by: katmitch | November 25, 2007 6:03 PM | Report abuse

Clinton ALSO hasn't been honest in telling folks just how much it'll cost them.



It's a little ridiculous that i even have to post that, but people don't seem to understand what a mandate is.

It's another plan that works for the poorest (who'll get it for free), and the richest (who can already afford it), but again leaves out middle america.

In Mass. (where Romney imposed the same Clinton plan) the cheapest government plan is $167 per month ($2000 a year).

Are you "blue collar" workers who support Hillary Clinton, ready to fork out the monthly expense her plan will cost you?

Posted by: julieds | November 25, 2007 5:38 PM | Report abuse

Socialized medicine is where Hillary would take us if she could. It's not the answer. Socialized medicine can be expensive, but IT IS AVAILABLE WHEN YOU WANT/NEED IT. Everybody knows that anything the government runs is full of red tape and long lines. Socialized medicine is no different. Just ask someone from Canada, the UK, etc. They'll tell you.

Posted by: johnpmorris | November 25, 2007 5:26 PM | Report abuse

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