Clinton’s Health Care Plan

As promised, Hillary Clinton unveiled her own health care plan today.

I’m not sure how her plan would actually help most Americans (probably about as much as Edwards’ or Obama’s plans would, elements of which Clinton’s plan clearly cops). But it’s a triumph of PR.

Clinton is clearly keeping one eye squarely on the past with her plan. As NYT notes:

Unlike her earlier attempt, Mrs. Clinton is not proposing a new government bureaucracy. Nor would her new plan strip people of their current health insurance — a fear that helped sink her 1993 and 1994 endeavor. Indeed, even the title of her new proposal — “the American Health Choices Plan” — underscored that this approach would aim to emphasize flexibility and options, and not government-directed coverage.

I guess I shouldn’t complain too much; it’s clear that health care will be a major policy issue in the upcoming election.  Still, I remain deeply cynical of policy initiatives crafted by marketing consultants.  Clinton’s plan, for example, does not rectify the number one problem with our existing health care system — the insistence on employer payment.  [As Bruno and I discussed yesterday, it’s very easy to do the math and demonstrate that cutting employers out of the payments loop can only be beneficial to businesses and individuals alike, and yet it’s something that candidates are loath to even discuss, lest they be forced to utter the “T” word.  Why?  Is this leadership?  I digress …]

I’m also not sure why all of the candidates plans focus on forcing individuals to buy insurance.  Economically, this is EXACTLY THE SAME as a tax.  “A rose by any other name”, as it’s said.

I guess I have to resign myself to the fact that rhetoric is all we’re going to get on this.  And if, by some chance, Hillary or John or Barack manages to implement their plan, however convoluted, inefficient, and short-sighted, at least we’ll have some semblance of universal health care.  I, like the rest of America, will have to wait for a real leader.

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