Sunday, January 6, 2008

Obama on Healthcare

You know, I can ignore most of the bullshit that comes out of Hillary Clinton's mouth. But now she's getting I think a bit desperate and is attacking Obama on healthcare. Hillary says that Obama's healthcare plan will leave 15 million people uninsured. When she said that all I could think was Oh, warping the facts to create fear. Familiar strategy.

There are two major differences, in my mind, between Hillary's and Obama's healthcare plans, and this "leaving 15 million people uninsured" soundbyte refers to the first difference. That difference is that while Hillary's plan makes it mandatory that all Americans purchase health insurance, Obama's plan does not. They both will make it cheaper for poorer Americans through subsidies, etc.--but Hillary's plan states that you will be punished (with a fine) if you do not buy this new cheaper subsidized health insurance. Obama's plan says that yes, the government will help out, but if you don't want it or still don't think you can afford it then we will not force you to purchase insurance. So yes, Hillary, Obama's plan may leave people uninsured, because he won't have forced them to do something against their will. Fuck you.

The second difference between Obama's healthcare plan and the plans of both Clinton and Edwards is subtle but massively important. Obama's healthcare plan has a real and viable strategy for lowering the ridiculous costs of healthcare that pad the wallets of insurance and pharmaceutical company CEOs. The problem with healthcare in this country is that the system is fundamentally rigged, and Obama demonstrates not only an understanding of that and a willingness to go to work on it, but also that he knows how to work on it. These issues are complex and largely invisible to the public, but he totally, totally gets it--more than I do, more than you do, more than anyone else in Washington does. Check it:

Newsweek's Jonathan Alter on why Obama's plan is better than not only Clinton's, but also Edwards' strategy of overruning the special interest groups by excluding them from the discussion:

Obama's idea is a better one: Get every special interest out in the open on television, where the new president can cross-examine them and expose their phony rationalizations for charging $100 a pill or denying coverage to sick people...Then, having triumphed over the drug and insurance companies in the court of public opinion, the legislative victories will follow.

Also, here is a long but easy-to-read blog post that does a great job of explaining why Obama's plan for healthcare reform is a-fucking-mazing. If you want to really understand his plan (without the burden of working in the healthcare field for years and years), you should definitely read this. Quote:

Most amazing of all, Obama’s speech shows deep understanding of health-care economics. It recognizes that real solutions to real problems require more than just points on a list. Obama seems to understand the quantitative effect of his proposals—i.e., how much each point will likely improve things—and his priorities reflect that understanding. That fact alone puts him so far ahead of most politicians that he seems to be from another species. It is as if he were Homo sapiens, and the rest Neanderthals.

The thing that's driving me nuts here is that people, like Hillary and this guy Paul Krugman from the NY Times, are criticizing Obama's plan not because it's bad but because they don't understand it. And Obama doesn't waste time trying to explain the complex nuances of his brilliance: He's got the platform he's chosen to be elected on and the brilliance will sneak in the back door. Sadly, in this country, you can't be elected on the merit of being smart enough to comprehensively solve major, seemingly unreconcilable problems that ever American citizen faces. That's not a good soundbyte.

No comments: