Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Insurance industry to Hillary: Thanks

Yesterday, I had some serious reservations about Hillary's health care plan because it seemed to embrace the private insurance industry a little too much for my liking, but I was willing to give it a chance until I read what other people had to say. My first impression turned out to be right though, especially after reading this blurb at First Read:
But forget the poll, this positive review from the New York Times’ David Brooks is probably the campaign's favorite clip today. "Hillary Clinton’s health care plan is a huge step forward from 1993. It’s better than the G.O.P. candidates’ plans (which don’t exist)."
If GOP mouthpiece Brooks likes the plan, that means it serves the interests of the insurance industry and not the public. FireDogLake had the same opinion and calls it Hillary's Health Care Sham.
For you to proclaim that your plan provides, “Universal Health Care” is a decided misnomer. “Universal Health Insurance” might be more like it. [...]

Senator, your plan is basically a national version of Republican Mitt Romney’s “Universal Health Care” plan for Massachusetts, which has still left thousands in that state uninsured and even more struggling to make the payments on their new policies, which they are now required to have by law, but which may not pay them one thin dime should they actually become sick or hurt. [...]

Is there anybody here who believes that this plan wasn’t conceived and dictated to Senator Clinton by passels of high-end lobbyists for the insurance industry?
John Nichols believes the plan was defined exactly according to the needs of the insurance industry.
The Clinton plan maintains the current system of for-profit, insurance-industry defined health care delivery. The only real change is that, in return for minimal requirements regarding coverage of those with preexisting conditions, the government would pump hundreds of billions in federal dollars into the accounts of some of the country’s wealthiest corporations. The plan’s tax credit scheme would buy some more coverage for low-income families, which is good, but it would do so at a cost so immense that, ultimately, Clinton’s plan will be as tough a sell as the failed 1993 “Hillarycare” proposal.
And Physician's for a National Health Program have this to say about Hillary's tax credits:
Further, the administrative complexities of refundable tax credits and means-tested premium caps would still leave many without coverage. Coverage will never be universal unless it is truly automatic for everyone.

If we are going to use the tax system to pay for health care anyway then why should we waste funds on the profoundly inefficient system of segregated private health plans? A universal risk pool that is equitably funded through the tax system is the most efficient and least expensive method of ensuring comprehensive coverage for everyone.
Nichols echoes PNHP too:
Despite what Mitt Romney says, Clinton and the Democrats would have a far easier time selling “European-style socialized medicine” that what the senator from New York is peddling. And that does not even take into account the potential appeal of a uniquely American single-payer system that might intelligently combine the necessary efficiency of a publicly-funded and defined payment program for covering costs with the appealing prospect of allowing Americans to choose their own basic plans and doctors.
Sorry, Hillary, but I also prefer a single-payer plan, along with a majority of other Americans based on this latest poll from CBS:
Americans were also asked to choose between keeping the current health care system, with insurance provided by private employers and some people uninsured, and a government-run system that provided universal coverage. Fifty-five percent said they preferred the government-run system, while 29 percent said they preferred the current system. This is an increase in support for the government-run system, which was favored by 47 percent of Americans in February. [emphasis added]
Fifty-five percent favor a government-run system, yet Dennis Kucinich is the only presidential candidate promoting a single-payer health plan. That tells us the others care more about appeasing the insurance industry and lobbyists than they do the uninsured.


abi said...

I've come to the same conclusion you have about HillaryCare II.

I feel the same frustration that you and other proponents of single-payer, not-for-profit health care are expressing. Americans want a government-run system, yet most of the Dem candidates insist on maintaining the current, inefficient system.

And Kucinich, the only candidate who is backing a fair, workable system, is polling at 2 or 3 percent.


Larry said...

I haven't liked this when I heard it, and it sounds like political pandering to big business.

Kathy said...

Abi, money probably plays a part in Kucinich's low numbers, but I think the press is complicit too. They could be highlighting him and his ideas about health care a lot more, especially since polls show the public is in favor of a government health plan, but the press obviously pushes the agenda of the insurance companies.

Larry, it is pandering, and I'm sure it's influenced by the amount of lobbying money that's being spent by health care interests.