Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Clinton Care Chaos

The media and blogosphere are abuzz about what many are calling "HillaryCare 2.0." The presidential hopeful laid out her approach to health care reform yesterday in Iowa. It was shortly afterwards that her new ad debuted.

The attacks and analyses began immediately, with a frequent refrain being about Clinton's stance on the insurance companies. Clinton makes many references to not allowing the insurance companies to control health care prices. That adversarial tone is seemingly quite at odds with the way her plan is being assessed in some quarters. This excerpt from The Nation is a good example:

The Clinton plan maintains the current system of for-profit, insurance-industry defined health care delivery. The only real change is that, in return for minimal requirements regarding coverage of those with preexisting conditions, the government would pump hundreds of billions in federal dollars into the accounts of some of the country's wealthiest corporations. The plan's tax credit scheme would buy some more coverage for low-income families, which is good, but it would do so at a cost so immense that, ultimately, Clinton's plan will be as tough a sell as the failed 1993 "Hillarycare" proposal.

America is ready for health care reform.

But it is not ready for more bureaucracy, more expense and more revenue for insurance companies.

Criticism abounds from all sides of the debate with both Republicans and her fellow Democrats rushing to add their own critiques. Does this avalanche of criticism denote a defensive posture amongst her detractors?

ABC News summarizes the reactions from other candidates and comments on the overall state of the playing field:

Clinton's plan is "European-style socialized medicine" (Mitt Romney); straight out of Michael Moore's "Sicko" (Rudy Giuliani); an "imitation" advanced by a flawed saleswoman (John Edwards); inadequate and advanced by a flawed saleswoman (Barack Obama -- but how would he cover more people without requiring coverage?); and automatically bad because Clinton herself "set back our ability to move toward universal health care immeasurably" back in 1994 (a very aggressive Chris Dodd).

All the attention is a form of flattery; just about any other candidate would have had himself hospitalized (maybe even in Cuba) to be attacked like this when he offered his plan. The obsession with "Hillarycare 2.0" speaks to the control that Clinton exerts over the entire field, as the one person who at this moment looks like she has the best shot of being elected president (and who represents the match-up the Republican base craves the most).

SOURCE: "Clinton's Prescription for Another Health Care Reform Failure" 09/17/07
SOURCE: "Hillary '07 Battles Hillary '93" 09/18/07
photo courtesy of valentinapowers on Flickr.

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