Yesterday, both Dem candidates made their final pitches to the Washington state caucus voters, Obama in Seattle and Senator Clinton in Tacoma. First, Obama's speech audio podcast (for at least today) in front of a huge crowd in KeyArena.
The audience also liked what Obama described of his platform if elected, which included: a U.S. military withdrawal from Iraq in 2009; health insurance for all equal to what he receives as a member of Congress (with a $2,500 annual premium reduction for those already insured); higher taxes on the rich and tax relief for senior citizens, homeowners and the working poor; higher pay for teachers, more spending on early childhood education and a $4,000 yearly tuition credit for college students in exchange for national service; a tax on greenhouse gas emissions and more investment in alternative energy sources; and -- in a pledge that prompted a particularly fervent reaction -- an end to genocide in Darfur.
At the same time, Clinton...
filled the University of Puget Sound's 5,500-seat field house for a health care-themed speech, with a backdrop of nurses and the announcement of an endorsement of her by the American Nurses Association.
Clinton has called for mandatory universal coverage, tax credits for working families to make insurance more affordable and requiring businesses to offer insurance to employees or pay into a pool for people without it.
Obama has proposed mandatory coverage for children. He would aim for universal coverage by requiring employers to share costs of insuring workers and by offering coverage similar to that in a plan for federal employees.
Without mentioning Obama by name in her speech, Clinton told her Tacoma audience, "My opponent's plan would leave out at least 50 million people, 750,000 right here in the state of Washington. Her plan, she said, "bans insurance companies from discriminating against people with pre-existing conditions."
What leaps off the page is the 50 million people number that is 3 million than the normal number of Americans that are thought to be uninsured at 47 million? This is a figure way outside the ball park 15 normally given by Hilllary and so I Iistened attentively to the audio pod cast and she actually said 15 million and 250 thousand in Washington, so I had to change my title of my original post.(never trust everything you read in the newspaper).
Lee and I have had a running debate on this subject of healthcare..I really don't think mandates are the way to approach universal coverage. The ends don't justify the means. See Obama and Clinton and healthcare and Single-payer...This whole area has been talked over pretty well in a wonkish way on Kevin Drum's blog Obama and mandates and The Healthcare Insurance Biz linking to David Cutler on mandates Tyler Cowen says:
mandates make social cost less transparent and they encourage government to commit societal real resources outside of the usual budgetary process. Those were two good general criticisms of the last eight years of the Bush administration; let's not carry those principles of governance over into our health care policy.
If someone needs covering, for whatever reason, give them some stuff. If need be give them some government stuff. Some kind of plan. Give them whatever. But don't overregulate private insurance companies and take them off the table as a source of future productivity improvements and super cheap coverage, however partial it may be.
"I think mandates pose more problems than they solve, and that they could be a political loser for Democrats in the general election", from Richard Eskow, in Brad DeLong's blog..
It is curious that Hillary is making healthcare reform her number one defining issue. And as we all know she's been there, done it...Yesterday Hillary, "I've been down this road".
Yes she has; Brad DeLong, former Clinton Deputy Assistant Director of the Treasury, on Hillary in 2003:
My two cents' worth--and I think it is the two cents' worth of everybody who worked for the Clinton Administration health care reform effort of 1993-1994--is that Hillary Rodham Clinton needs to be kept very far away from the White House for the rest of her life. Heading up health-care reform was the only major administrative job she has ever tried to do. And she was a complete flop at it. She had neither the grasp of policy substance, the managerial skills, nor the political smarts to do the job she was then given. And she wasn't smart enough to realize that she was in over her head and had to get out of the Health Care Czar role quickly.
Note: Wizbang Blue is now closed and our authors have moved on. Paul Hooson can now be found at Wizbang Pop!. Please come see him there!