Monday, September 17, 2007

Calling Dr Hillcare

Remember when Hillary was demonized for her first health plan back during the era of Bill Clinton? The image of her as Dr Hillcare is a relic from those days. I found this doll at the Goodwill a few months ago and thought it might become a useful prop at some point. So I splurged and paid ten bucks for it. Looking it up online, I find that it is a collectible item, and was originally designed to be a draft stopper to be placed -- legs spread wide open -- at the bottom of doors. It was packaged with anti-Hillary propaganda and is now worth $70. Wow -- my first investment property!

The doll represents how the far the right wing will go to destroy someone they perceive as a threat to the status quo -- rich people getting richer at the expense of all of us regular working folks. It also says a great deal about right wing attitudes toward women, especially women with intelligence and access to power.

I don't think anybody would disagree that Hillary's first round of fighting for health care was a pivotal moment in her career. She could have given up then and there -- instead she chose to seek actual power rather than that granted through her husband. I've been waiting to hear what her new health care plan would entail. Today was the big launch day and tomorrow, Hillary will be giving a web cast on her plan. You can go here to read a summery of the plan and to register for the live web event.

At lunch I checked my Faithless (Atheist and Agnostic) Group email and found a posting from one of our members about Hillary Clinton's newly revealed health plan. He was outraged. In his words, "This isn't universal health care, this is mandatory health insurance. Health insurance is not health care. Millions of people who have insurance aren't getting the health care they require because the insurance companies decide what gets covered. And this nation values the private sanctity of the insurance companies more than health care. "

Well that got my dander up, but then I got home from work and turned on the TV. Tucker Carlson was having an apoplectic fit about Hillary's American Health Choices Plan (PDF file). He was having a hard time with the "mandatory" part of it, claiming that it was his right as an American to have a choice not to choose to have a health plan and that when he had his first child and he was young and without a lot of money, he chose not to have insurance. Good thing that his kid didn't have unexpected problems at birth. Guess Tucker weighed the odds and decided to take a risk with his kid's life.

If Tucker is that outraged at Hillary's plan, maybe it isn't so bad. Another from our Faithless group pointed out that Hillary's plan sounds very similar to Edwards' and Obama's and furthermore makes this very excellent point: "But if she really expanded Medicare and the federal employee plan so that anyone not already covered by their employer could join -- for a reasonable price -- that really would be reform."

And: "Of course, one might guess that if there were a decent federal program, most employers would stop offering health plans and pretty soon everybody except rich people would be on the government plan and we'd basically have socialized medicine like other civilized countries. But offering both is a way to move in that direction without explicitly saying so, and while allowing the rich foot-draggers to keep their private plans if they want to."

I've downloaded the new Clinton plan and will try to read it and make some notes for further comments. I hope some energetic Netizen puts out a nonpartisan comparison chart showing all the details in each Democratic candidate's health plans so we can see if there is much of a difference. And I am particularly interested in what all my readers are thinking about all this. As always, your comments are welcome!


Akkana said...

My comment "most employers would stop offering health plans" was inspired by an article by Timothy Noah on Slate a few months ago:
It was part of a pretty good series they had comparing the various candidates' health plans, but of course it didn't include Clinton's since she hadn't published one yet.

Re-reading the article, I see that the "regional market" concept is a key difference between the Clinton and Edwards plans. I'm not sure I like the regional market idea much, though I live in a relatively progressive state so it might work out for me personally.

I have some reservations about the Clinton plan (there's a lot in that PDF that's vague or doesn't make sense to me) but I'm sure we'll see more discussion as time goes on.

Village Green said...

Thanks for posting, akkana. In another email comment today you made a huge point which is that no candidate is going to wave her or his wand and do away with the insurance industry -- it ain't gonna happen. There are way too many people making a living slogging away in insurance company cubicles just so they can afford to feed their families and -- pay for health insurance. How we get from there to universal coverage is something that I don't see anyone addressing.