Clinton, Obama Continue To Spar Over Health Care Plans
LeadingDemocratic presidential candidates continued to focus on health care issues and"the question of how 'universal' a coverage plan must be," the Los Angeles Times reports. Sen. Hillary RodhamClinton (D-N.Y.) and former Sen. John Edwards (D-N.C.) have proposed plans thatwould require all individuals to obtain health insurance, while Sen. BarackObama (D-Ill.) has proposed such a requirement only for children(Wallsten/Zaldivar, Los Angeles Times, 12/1).
On Saturday at two forums held in
She said of his proposal, "It went from universal when I wasn't there tocomprehensive when I was on the same stage," adding, "It's obviousthat he doesn't want to face up to the very position he took because every timehe changes his posture on it, he uses different words to describe it"(Earle, New York Post, 12/3). On Sunday,
On Friday at the fall meeting of the Democratic National Committee in Tyson's Corner, Va., Obama said that his health care proposal would seek to reduce costs and would prove more effective in efforts to expand health insurance than the Clinton plan. According to Obama, "I have put forth a universal health care plan that will do more to cut the cost of health care than any other proposal in this race. If you can't afford health insurance right now, you will be able to afford it when I'm president." He added "Anyone who tells you otherwise is more interested in scoring political points than actually solving the problem." Obama said, "Sen. Clinton is arguing that the only way to get every American covered is if you force every American to buy health care," adding that a lack of detail in the Clinton plan regarding enforcement of the requirement suggests that her criticism of his health care plan "is more of a political point that she's trying to make than a real point" (Los Angeles Times, 12/1).
Policy advisers for
Edwards Faces Skepticismon Health Care Promise
Former Sen. John Edwards(D-N.C.) on Sunday "faced sharp voter skepticism" over whether hecould fulfill his promise to revoke the health insurance of lawmakers in theevent that they do not pass legislation to expand coverage to all residents,the Times reports. Edwards acknowledged thathe could not take such action unilaterally but said that he would proposelegislation to require lawmakers to vote on a bill to expand health insuranceto all residents or lose their own coverage.
Edwards said, "I want to see a Republican senator or congressman take theposition that they're going to defend their health care and vote against healthcare for their constituents," adding, "I will make sure every voterin their state knows they are protecting themselves against the interests ofthe people that they represent. I'm telling you, this will work."
In addition, he criticized
Huckabee Takes MorePopulist Position on Health Care
Populist positions onhealth care and other domestic issues differentiate former Arkansas Gov. MikeHuckabee (R) from other Republican candidates, USA Today reports. In his campaign, Huckabee haspromoted the importance of preventive care and has cited his own loss of 110pounds, which he has said has allowed him to survive type 2 diabetes (
- Merrill Matthews, Wall Street Journal: Allegations by Clinton that health insurers spend $50 billion annually to avoid payment of claims "raise real questions about Sen. Clinton's grasp of the facts" and are "part of a broader effort by the left to disparage the private-sector health insurance industry as wasteful and inefficient, meanwhile claiming that there would be great savings if the government covered more people," Matthews, executive director of the Council for Affordable Health Insurance and a resident scholar for the Institute for Policy Innovation, writes in a Journal opinion piece. Government "regulation is one of the primary causes of high health insurance costs," and states that have the most coverage mandates "have significantly higher premiums than the less-regulated states," he writes. According to Matthews, the "best way to get past third-party claims adjudication is to move toward a system where patients, in consultation with physicians, do most of the monitoring themselves." He adds, "That is what does happen when people use health insurance only for major expenses, paying smaller bills out of a tax-free" health savings account or health reimbursement account (Matthews, Wall Street Journal, 12/1).
- George Will, Washington Post: "Edwards' health care proposal involves un-Jeffersonian bossiness" in his requirement that all residents obtain preventive care, Post columnist Will writes. In addition, in a television advertisement launched in Iowa, Edwards "brandishes his mailed fist at Congress, to which he vows to say: 'If you don't pass universal health care by July of 2009, in six months, I'm going to use my power as president to take your health care away from you,'" Will writes. "What power enables presidents to 'take' health care from people who have it by statute?" Will writes, adding, "This is the Democrats' riposte to the grandiosity of the current president's notion of executive prerogatives?" (Will, Washington Post, 12/2).
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