Not nearly enough attention has been paid to the differences between Obama and Hillary’s healthcare plan. While there is mainly just one difference, the lack of a mandate in Obama’s plan, that difference can be make or break for the future success of universal healthcare.
Just like we make all people participate in Social Security, we must have all people participating in any healthcare program at a national level for it to be successful.
Paul Krugman is one of the few progressive economists published by the mainstream media in the U.S. He can explain it far better than I can…
Ezra Klein has this to say….
Health Care. I hardly feel like writing this up, as I’ve commented on it so often already. I should say that I don’t blame Obama for the Harry and Louise mailer. I don’t imagine it crossed his desk. But on that, as on many of the other decisions his campaign made when attacked on health care, they deserved, and received, criticism.
The problem with Obama on health care, the one I fear will really impact his presidency, is not a fundamental conservatism, but a poverty of imagination. An absence, if you will, of audacity. There are arguments to be made against individual mandates. But so far as those arguments are to be made by universal health care advocates, they better have an alternative. And Obama could have had one: He could have had automatic enrollment, or guaranteed government issue, or an opt-out, rather than opt-in, system. But he didn’t. Rather than choose a better, more progressive mechanism to ensure universality, he chose none at all. And that doesn’t only harm him in a policy sense, but it impedes him from pushing forward on the politics of the issue. Obama is a guy who genuinely understands the potency of narratives and values and themes. A nation as rich as ours can afford decency, and an economy as large as ours must be grounded in values. Without health care, all we’ve got, at least domestically, is a lot of talk, and the occasional bout of anxious fretting when the numbers turn grim. With it, we have a single policy that can do enormous amount to knit together our patchwork safety net, improve the economic health of the country, reduce the economic insecurity of our people, and make something tangible out of our constant calls for a more compassionate economy and a more unified country. The centrality of our neighbor’s health and security is such an obvious Obama-argument, so in line with his belief in unity, that 10 months ago, I would have laughed at you for saying he’d whiff on it. Throughout this campaign, he has done worse: He has fled from it, and allowed short-term political pressures box him into arguments that I imagine he knows conflict with progressivism’s long-term goals..
By contrast, Clinton’s plan is excellent, her command of the issue is masterful, and it’s clearly close to her heart. There is no doubt in my mind that she will do everything in her power to move us towards universal health care, and she will do so having thought long and hard about what went wrong in 1994. By contrast, it is not clear to me that Obama will gamble on health care, and given how he’s spoken about it throughout the campaign, it’s even less clear to me that he’s thought hard about how to enact it.