Saturday, February 23, 2008

While pundits preferred to talk about Barack Obama appropriating sentences from Deval Patrick, or Hillary Clinton appropriating some generic lines from her husband, John Edwards, or whomever, one of the issues virtually ignored in the commentary following the debate of 2/21/08 was health care.

That's understandable. Discussion of health care is boring and, anyway, it might betray the media's conservative bias. But a couple of things struck me as interesting when Senators Obama and Clinton went at it with each other in Austin.

At one point, Obama stated

Now, Massachusetts has a mandate right now. They have exempted 20 percent of the uninsured because they have concluded that that 20 percent can't afford it. In some cases, there are people who are paying fines and still can't afford it, so now they're worse off than they were. They don't have health insurance and they're paying a fine.

Clearly, the Illinois Senator is against mandates, right? But not for children's health insurance: "point number two, the reason a mandate for children can be effective is we've got an ability to make affordable health care available to that child, right now." It's somehow necessary for children, but not for adults. And as for health care for adults? Obama, again: "And it is true that, if it turns out that some are gaming the system, then we can impose, potentially, some penalties on them for gaming the system." Curious, given that earlier in the argument he criticizes this general approach: "In order for you to force people to get health insurance, you've got to have a very harsh penalty, and Senator Clinton has said that we won't go after their wages. Now, this is a substantive difference." Mandates, penalties? For or against? It's hard to tell. Clinton is much clearer: "We would not have a social compact with Social Security and Medicare if everyone did not have to participate. I want a universal health care plan."

It's almost heretical. In this season of the Obama campaign and the media emphasizing the involvement of youth in the presidential campaign(s) and the clear implication that their interests, above all else, must be served, it's refreshing to hear a candidate actually refer to Social Security and Medicare. She sounds almost like.... dare I say it.... a Democrat.

No comments:

This "R" Stands for More than "Reprehensible"

He's not insane but if Jim Steinman was right that "two out of three ain't bad," three out of four is quite good. Th...