With less than a year to go before the United States decides who will be the country's new chief executive the debates are starting to get heated. Last night's debate among candidates for the Democratic Party's presidential nomination was a perfect case in point. Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton faced off against Senator Barack Obama. The subject of health care reform proved, to no one's surprise, to be the hot button issue.
Michael Cooper of the New York Times reports:
The crux of their dispute centers on their overall approaches to health care.Aswini Anburajan adds the following on MSNBC's First Read:
Mrs. Clinton's plan would require all Americans to get coverage and would provide subsidies to make it more affordable. Mr. Obama's plan would require only children to have coverage; his plan would require employers to provide coverage or contribute to a new public program that would make insurance more affordable to people not covered by their jobs or by the government.
“The only difference between Senator Clinton's health care plan and mine is that she thinks the problem for people without health care is that nobody has mandated - forced - them to get health care,” Mr. Obama said. “That's not what I'm seeing around Nevada. What I see are people who would love to have health care. They desperately want it. But the problem is they can't afford it.”
Obama has pledged, repeatedly, on the stump to pass universal healthcare by the end of his first term in office. He promises to do so through a mixture of bravado, “If Harry and Louise get up on TV, I'll dip into my campaign fund and run my own ads saying Harry and Louise are wrong;” and by running an open process in which every party will have a seat at the table.The main quantitative difference between the three main Democratic front runners, Clinton, Obama, and Edwards, is that only Senator Obama's plan does not mandate care (requiring coverage) for everyone. In the debate and on the stump he has questioned the ability of government to enforce such a mandate. Mr. Cooper's article quotes him as saying of Senator Clinton's approach, "She states that she wants to mandate health care coverage, but she's not garnishing people's wages to make sure that they have it.”
From here on out things should continue to heat up in the various debates. Check back with us often as we keep our fingers on the pulse of health care reform!
SOURCE: "It Was Clinton vs. Obama on Health Care" 11/16/07
SOURCE: "What's Obama's Health care Position?" 11/15/07
photo courtesy of swanksalot on Flickr, used under this Creative Commons license