Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Clinton Health Care Plan Unveiled

Senator Clinton unveiled her health care plan yesterday, which seems like pretty sound policy. It is a great leap in the right direction. With health care cost running at roughly 15% of GDP, every serious student of fiscal policy knows that you can't balance the budget without tacking the cost of health care. You just can't. Combine that with the fact that there are millions of Americans who live in fear of a bad diagnosis, a kid with a broken arm, or an unforseen tragedy, and it is intuitive to me that access to health care for everyone is a lofty, but noble, goal. It is also do-able. We live in a country that has the best health care in the world. It is also among the most expensive in the world. Something must be done.

Hillary's proposal is as follows:

- If you have health care insurance and are pleased with it, keep it.

- Provide affordable options for those who are not insured or are dissatisfied with their current coverage.

- Require portability.

The plan has the added benefit of having no element that should cause "Harry and Louise" to revisit the apoplexy of 1993. This isn't 1993, and Hillary learned from the mistakes that she made that year. E.J. Dionne has a piece on that point in today's WP.

The $110 billion a year sticker price might seem steep, but it's a bargain. The cost of treating the uninsured will evaporate.

A few points of perspective on the cost of the plan:

- In FY 2006, the US spent nearly $600 billion on Medicare and Medicaid, costs which would almost certainly go down (Medicaid especially) post-implementation of the Clinton plan.

- We have spend an average of $100 billion on the Iraq war each year that it continues.

This is a good idea. It is going to take Presidential leadership to get it done. It is an affordable, common-sense plan to extend access to health care to all Americans. I have become a cheerleader for Senator Clinton lately, and the "big ideas" candidacy that she is running is part of the reason why. This is a person who is ready to lead, and knows what she wants to do.

Small business reacts well to plan - WSJ
MSNBC wrap

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