Wednesday, September 19, 2007
Macomber on HillaryCare
Just another note about Hillary’s health care plan from Shawn Macomber (who, occasionally, pops his head up from writing his upcoming examination of global class warfare to deliver interesting commentary):
For that matter, read this teaser on the YearlyKos event that gives us a hint of the article that will be coming up from Shawn in the October issue of American Spectator.
Tuesday, September 18, 2007
When Honesty Isn’t the Best Policy (At Least, Not Complete Honesty)
John Podhoretz, who seems close to ready to cede the presidential election to Hillary Clinton, notes one of her points of both growth and strength.
I think he has a point, although I think that he overestimates her chance of being elected to the office. First, health care is a big concern for most Americans, and a plan that sounds good will do much to sway voters. Her plan--not vague enough that she can be accused of offering up a plan with no substance, but not specific enough to be, as Podhoretz notes, bullying--sounds good. This isn’t the right time to get into the specific discussion of why I think her plan would be far more expensive than she suggests and is merely a stepping stone to a single payer system of socialized health care that could be disastrously ruinous to our economy, but let me acknowledge the strengths of her proposal in a political sense.
Just-vague-enough is Hillary’s friend and a politically brilliant move for someone who the political right had been hoping would roll out another thousand-page health care plan. In a practical sense, it would have been much easier to discredit a plan that looked more like her original proposal. It’s damned good politics.
I could argue against the plan and cite the dangers of the “individual mandate”, the uncontrolled costs of universal access, and the creeping move towards an even more expensive single-payer system. I could talk about the offensive intrusion of a government forcing me to buy health care insurance. None of that matters at this stage of the presidential race, though; what counts is providing answers that sound strong, are presented well, and convince enough people to come out to vote. The end result of Hillarycare 2.0 will undoubtedly look different when viewed through the lens of whatever new laws have to be passed and bureaucracies created to support the plan. But no matter how appetizing it tastes when the details are in place, this glimpse of her recipe looks awfully good now to people who are worried about their health care futures and for the companies that continue to pay hefty increases every year to the insurance companies.
The reason that I think Podhoretz is wrong about her chances in the election come down to the motivational animosity that so many voters have toward Clinton and her husband. I think that it would be insane to bet on any other Democrat candidate winning the nomination, but that nomination doesn’t win the election. Much of the election will hinge, of course, on progress in Iraq, but some of it will come down to who voters like the more they look at the final candidates. Hillary still has a lot of ill will to overcome before she can win the presidency.
None of which explains the irritation I feel whenever I hear that Budweiser commercial that reminds me of the electric violin solo in Revenge of the Nerds. Maybe that’s just me, though…
Friday, August 10, 2007
I’ll Go Ahead and Answer That One
Yes. If, as the American Heritage Dictionary defines it, we accept “socialized” to mean “To place under government or group ownership or control”, then it would be hard to call Medicare anything other than socialized medicine. It’s tax payer funded health care for a subset of the citizenry.
I’m not sure why she would suggest that it isn’t socialized medicine, although I do understand why she would want to do so. Socialized is a dirty word to many Americans and if they think something is “socialist”, they aren’t particularly likely to support it not least because “socialized” programs tend to require tax increases. Hillary Clinton is not a dumb woman; she knows precisely what it is that any universal health care program would entail. Government mandated coverage means either government subsidies or tax credits for employers (which amount quite nearly to the same thing) and tax increases for coverage of the unemployed--and that comes along with a heavy dose of new government regulations on the health care industry.
Now, whether that is all worthwhile or not is another debate. There isn’t any room for discussing whether any true universal health care system is “socialized medicine” or not, though. It is, it will be, and to suggest otherwise is a bit of a dodge.
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