Network News

X My Profile
View More Activity

The VP Debate: Remember Health Care

The phantom menace appeared at the vice presidential debate, but you could be forgiven if somehow you missed it. After weeks, if not months of absence from the campaign debate, Republican Sarah Palin and Democrat Joe Biden discussed the health insurance conundrum -- briefly, incompletely and practically incomprehensibly.

Palin started what amounted to a lightning round on the topic that used to be at the forefront of voters’ concerns. That is, health insurance was a top concern before the before the mortgage meltdown, the Wall Street bailout, the jobs hemorrhage, painful prices at the gas pump and -- well, you get the picture. She boasted that rather than increasing taxes, as she charged an Obama-Biden administration would do, she and John McCain would cut them, and included in the goodies a $5,000 tax credit for families to purchase health insurance.

Biden countered with a convoluted explanation of how that $5,000 wouldn’t be enough to purchase what is now a policy costing about $12,000, and which is subsidized with tax breaks for employers.

That’s about as far as it went, and it’s not nearly far enough.

In fact, McCain’s health insurance proposal would eliminate tax benefits employers now get for offering health insurance to their workers. This would effectively end the work-based health insurance system. Families would be left to purchase policies on their own, those who are sick would face much higher premiums, and the number of uninsured would rise, rather than fall, according to independent analyses.

In the two debates remaining between the presidential contenders, health insurance deserves a much healthier discussion.

By Marie Cocco  | October 2, 2008; 11:05 PM ET
Categories:  Cocco  | Tags:  Marie Cocco  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: The VP Debate: The Strangest I've Ever Seen
Next: The VP Debate: Maintaining Momentum


Head of State

Thursday, October 02, 2008
Shorter Debate

Part I: Palin did not answer questions directly.

Part II: Biden incredibly strong--pointed out Palin "I heard no plan" on Iraq, very strong on economic and FP issues.

Veep issue devastating against Palin--actually claimed broader powers for VP, clearly without knowing actual constitutional powers. Biden powerful on Cheney--dials way up.

And then...The turning point. The Biden tears. After that, Biden was most clear, passionate and strong, and from there, Palin was gibberish.

Biden win.



National poll of Debate Watchers:

Who won:

Biden: 51%

Palin: 36%

Head of State

Posted by: robthewsoncamb | October 2, 2008 11:25 PM | Report abuse


It will be interesting to see what the real polls say.

Palin won the debate hands down... because she is more personable that BOTH BIDEN AND OBAMA.

Biden is an American and shows it.. (Obama is a American hater that is part of his religious upbringing. He is also a white hater...He says he learned to not be white at around 13-14 and his entire life has been spent trying to be black and forgetting that he is bi-racial.)

Palin has a strong belief in family, doing the right thing and in doing her duty for her country.

Obama is only concerned with being the FIRST BLACK PRESIDENT. And what he can give back to the Black Community,the same with Michelle OBAMA. This is something that the MSM can not and will not say.

We are now on the battle of a great election. The winner will have the fates of all US Citizens.

I am against OBAMA because he lies,has no honor, no duty to country, no sense of JUSTICE (Except justice is blind), and talks about change... BUT HAS NOT CHANGED ANYTHING in his entire life for main stream America. His entire career has been spent trying to make things better for minorities and affirmative actions issues.

Beware the wolf in Sheep's clothing.

And I would trust Biden, McCain and Palin at my back in a firefight.

Obama would be one to hesitate, one to hide and wait until the firefight was over, and then show up... claiming the won the entire war by himself. Or coming up with a lie about why he did not fire his weapon.

You can see how much respect I have for a man that uses people to advance his career, knowing full well that he is going to do so.. and is willing to pay them back if he makes it.

Posted by: miller51550 | October 2, 2008 11:38 PM | Report abuse

Miller, get a life.

Obama loves this country, and you better start practicing giving some respect to the next president- Obama.

Posted by: julieds | October 2, 2008 11:47 PM | Report abuse

"Biden countered with a convoluted explanation of how that $5,000 wouldn’t be enough to purchase what is now a policy costing about $12,000, and which is subsidized with tax breaks for employers"

Maybe I could get a job here, as I found his explanation pretty clear.

What he didn't point out is how much $5000 tax cut is going to cover in terms of health insurance premiums. How many families can afford to pay an insurance premium, now paid for by your employer. The premium amount is going to be added to your gross income meaning that the guy who yells he won't raise taxes is...... RAISING YOUR TAXES, unless of course you decide to just drop health insurance coverage altogether. Now that sounds like a good proposal. How many people can afford to pay their insurance premiums now? Why are there so many uninsured? Because of the amount of money it costs for health insurance... Duhhh

You have to be able to afford health insurance to benefit by his tax cut. Once again pandering to those who are better off. Welcome to the Republican solution.

Posted by: yakmon | October 2, 2008 11:49 PM | Report abuse

What is so appalling is that the standard for the vice-presidential debate was: “Could Palin ARTICULATE her arguments?’ How pathetic. We are on the verge of evolution in humanity, and we’re deceived into believing this kind of trite is valid. Obama, Biden, who not so incidentally has weathered far more than freakin’ Palin, is being held accountable for a standard that has never, EVER, been met by either McCain or Bush – Palin isn’t even worth mentioning!! I’m so sick and tired of the American public who support this absurd façade! Get smart, think, and vote FOR THE PEOPLE, not for your own personal vendettas! The clear vote for a new America is: OBAMA

Posted by: primarywatcher | October 2, 2008 11:52 PM | Report abuse

"And I would trust Biden, McCain and Palin at my back in a firefight.

Obama would be one to hesitate, one to hide and wait until the firefight was over, and then show up... claiming the won the entire war by himself. Or coming up with a lie about why he did not fire his weapon."

So, you only have a problem with the black man?

Funny that Obama wasn't afraid to stand up against the war when it was being pushed on the American public. Seems his judgment is just fine...

Posted by: AgnosticEngineer | October 2, 2008 11:57 PM | Report abuse

Yes Miller get a life

—"I am against OBAMA because he lies,has no honor, no duty to country, no sense of JUSTICE (Except justice is blind), and talks about change... BUT HAS NOT CHANGED ANYTHING in his entire life for main stream America."

Have you heard about the bridge to nowhere? Now there's some honest BS from your Palin fool. Honor? McSame was against torture until he was for it—that's honor for ya. Duty to country? McSame returned from Nam and used his past to get elected to office where he could be a part of the Keeting Five—look it up moron.

Obama by contrast used his college degree to help those individuals who has been effected by the out sourcing of jobs in Chicago. Helped get people off the streets and get back their self respect—something McSame wouldn't understand.

As for justice, How is supporting the NSA a thing of justice. How is supporting Bushco 90% of the time supporting justice—Alberto Gonzoles, Abu Grahb,—need I say more?

As for change McSame changes his stance so often who know what he believes. 9:00am "The state of the economy is strong" 11:00am "We are in the midst of a financial crisis" Then the real BS—oh I was talking about the American worker—how stupid does he think we are? You believe him? Have another beer...

Posted by: yakmon | October 3, 2008 12:03 AM | Report abuse

Hello? Sarah Palin's MAJOR gaffe: she doesn't have any concept of our Constitution and how the founders of our country set up our government to ensure checks and balances on power. The executive, legislative, and judicial branchers are SEPARATE. NO, we cannot be "flexible" or expand the power of the Vice-President to the legislative branch. This is a BIG EXAMPLE OF IGNORANCE in Palin. She's no Dick Cheney, but sometimes dumb can be just as dangerous as stealthy. She evidently didn't remember this from high school.
There should be a major outcry over her air-headed remark about expanding the powers of the V.P., good God!

Posted by: yihe94703 | October 3, 2008 12:04 AM | Report abuse

I think Biden won the debate which was no real surprise. But I actually liked the enthusiasm and energy of Palin. Biden and Palin would actually be a great team I would vote for. I dislike both choices for president intensely. Both of them scare the crap out of me. Somehow Biden with Sarah makes me comfortable. Both seem thoughtful and deliberate without being extreme.

Posted by: broy51 | October 3, 2008 12:11 AM | Report abuse


I know debate expectations for Sarah Palin were low, like "2000 Leagues Below the Sea" low, but I expect a little more substance from the person who is running to be one 72 year old heart beat away from the presidency.

Palin offered zero policy differences from the Bush administration. Her reasoning for this, apparently, was that the past is not important.
Palin did not display the ability draw upon her own experience or apply knowledge in her responses. She merely came across as a robot who spouted trained "stock" replies. She simply recited Republican talking points and right wing catch phrases that any Fox News employee could regurgitate on command.

In fact, the only win for the McCain/Palin ticket tonight was having a debate moderator who did not push for specific answers to her questions.
I cannot count the number of times Palin gave a response that had absolutely nothing to do with the question. Sometimes she
even gave an answer that was the opposite of what was asked. For example, when asked to list her "Achilles heel," instead of describing just one single weakness, Palin gave a memorized list of her "strengths." Reminds me of 2004 when Bush said he could not think of any mistake he ever made as president!

On a personal level, I was turned off by her shrill tone and twisted attacks at Joe Biden. And her transparent attempts at folksiness came across as down right corny. Is this how she would answer the 3am call? "Say it ain't so, Iran has nuclear weapons, well doggone it, don't those folks over there know that I'm a maverick who isn't afraid to give ya some straight talk?"

In short, Sarah Palin failed the "is she ready" test tonight. I find it impossible to imagine her in the White House.

Posted by: jgarrisn | October 3, 2008 12:15 AM | Report abuse


Personable doesn't make a debate winner. As far as your other statements, I'm not sure where you are coming from. Outer space?

In tonights debate, I thought Palin did really well. Much better then I expected. Almost what you would expect from someone who is the Governor of a state.

Regarding this article. I have excellent employee health care. It's one of the reasons I chose to work for the company I work for, but as Marie Cocco describes in her article, this health care thing that McCain has proposed is not very good. I do not want my health insurance to be taxed! (Or have my employers health care tax benefit removed)

Posted by: KD11 | October 3, 2008 12:18 AM | Report abuse

Joe Bide showed that there are no real teeth under the lipstick and so she was content to go back and forth to the toys she was trained to lick.

Also Joe Biden showed that the idea of using people's need for health care is another chance for McCain-Palin to building a bridge to nowhere.

Posted by: ElMugroso | October 3, 2008 12:19 AM | Report abuse

The Palin that showed up tonight was very similar to the Palin we've seen in numerous interviews. I'm sure Gov Palin is a very nice lady. I'm sure she is a person of conviction and principle. But she clearly has a very elementary understanding of the numerous topics raised this evening. She isn't presidential material. I can't think of a single question she actually answered. Her strategy was obviously to questions she wished she was asked, and do so as well as she could. She was great if you confused lots of words as an answer. But she was terrible if you were searching for her answer in mist of words. The reason for this is she didn't have an answer....just a lot of words designed to hope the viewer forget the question asked. When people ramble its because they don't have an answer.

Biden did a great job tonight. His experience with the many issues he's faced in his career shined. He was firm, without being condescending. He did not attack Gov. Palin once. He was cordial and respectful of Gov Palin throughout the debate. He spoke to the issues and clearly answered the questions he was asked.

I do agree a deeper discussion on healthcare is needed in this debate as it is still one of the greater issues plaguing our society. Biden did a good job of broaching the reality of the McCain plan...that it would undeniably increase the number of uninsured if you've taken the time to careful read and examine the plan. When this issue is brought back into the fold, I imagine in a subsequent presidential debate, Obama has a great place to start in expanding on Biden's response. For those who complain about the Obama Biden healthcare plan I suggest they actually take the time to read through it.

Biden didn't have to spend time digging into Palin. The media will do that on their own. And I believe the media should do this regardless of the fact it benefits the dems. If Palin were strong the media coverage would strengthen the republican position and nobody would be whining about the negative press. The fact is Palin is not strong and as such the coverage is not flattering. The right has Palin and McCain to thank for the negative press...not the press itself.

I think Gwenn did a great job moderating this debate. Nobody can complain they weren't treated fairly and impartially. All in all Biden cleaned her clock and did so in a very professional, and respectful, manner. I suspect the polls will continue to slide in the favor of Obama/Biden. Palin wasn't even close to being as strong as she needed to be in order to turn her own negative goodwill, and the situation of her campaign, towards the positive direction.

Posted by: fortheclueless | October 3, 2008 12:24 AM | Report abuse

Senator Biden was clearly more factional and just as passionate as Governor Palin. But as reality sets in hopefully, Americans should view the debate as Palin's ideological ramblings compared with Biden with facts,leadership,vision,and not half truths. Bottom line, Palin's selection as VP candidate clearly shows a lack of judgment, and McCains bitter man attitude is wearing thin. Wake up America,do not be swayed by flag waving and the same ole empty rhetoric,Obama and Biden are the only choice and they will have a lot of tough issues to deal with.After tonight,do you really think Sarah Palin has any answer to anything.

Posted by: huffmanv | October 3, 2008 12:26 AM | Report abuse

If this is a personality contest, then we must have been watching 'American Idol'. Why dumb down america with points for gestures, talking points, speaking at 'our' level, etc. And what's this zaniness about calling us 'Joe Six Packs'? Maybe I should drink a six pack, while listening to Palin speak. McCain, already bailed on Michigan, and maybe he'll do the same with Palin. Stayed tuned!

Posted by: insideman | October 3, 2008 1:13 AM | Report abuse

The Pitbull swallowed a tape recorder.
-Push the belly button to rewind.

Posted by: ElMugroso | October 3, 2008 2:48 AM | Report abuse

Grampa needs to go take a nap and Hacky Mam needs to go back to guarding Alaska from the Russians. THESE two dimwits are what America needs right now? what a joke!

Posted by: Hillary08 | October 3, 2008 11:23 PM | Report abuse

Good afternoon all of you lefty libs!!!

Great article in the Times... Obama and a known terrorist... surprised???

I know I know... when Obama thought htere were 56 states in America - when Michelle says she's proud of America for the first time - or when she says America is a mean spirited selfish nation - or when Obama equates or military to be the same as terrorists - do I need to continue with their own words???? I can write at least 3-4 more paragraphs if you'd like!!!!

You guys are supporter a freakin idiot liberal who will flush America down the super-power toilet.

OBAMA! OBAMA! OBAMA! .... oh please... he should sent back to Kenya... he thinks more like them than an American anyway.

Posted by: Kdog1 | October 4, 2008 12:44 PM | Report abuse

why has'nt anyone mentioned McCain's Fabulous Five in the S&L along with good friend Neil Bush

Posted by: beamjohnd | October 6, 2008 12:13 AM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

RSS Feed
Subscribe to The Post

© 2010 The Washington Post Company