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September 20, 2007

Time To Attack

Hillary Clinton's healthcare plan may be a worthy piece of legislation that preserves a primary role for the private market and takes the preservation and expansion of choice as its main imperative, but that doesn't mean it won't be smeared on exactly those grounds. Here, for instance, is Fred Thompson, doing some lying:

Click to play

Charming! It worries me a bit that Democrats spend so little time attacking the Right on healthcare. Given that we're the ones with the plans and the polling advantage, there can be a tendency to be constructive without being aggressive. But Romney, Giuliani, and Thompson have all gone for the throat on her plan -- and that will, over time, impact public perceptions of Democratic efforts, even as it does nothing for Republican ratings on the issue. But they don't need to build, only destroy.

Better by far would be for Democrats to affirmatively strike at the Right's incoherence on the issue. Thompson can attack Clinton on choice all he wants, but Hillary can point out that she's letting Americans choose any type of full coverage they want, while Thompson is offering the uninsured mother with breast cancer her choice of tax deduction. If Thompson wants to argue that Democrats are allergic to choice, there's no reason Democrats can't wonder why Republicans have such trouble with compassion -- and why they think every American shouldn't have health insurance.

September 20, 2007 in Health Care | Permalink


Democrats have been told that going negative is very naughty and doesn't work, and the Presidential candidates tend to believe it.

Posted by: Stephen | Sep 20, 2007 10:13:19 AM

Just a bone for contention: how about the primary role for the private market being reduced to providing supplemental Medicare policies (this includes employer paid plans) while everybody is covered with Medicare. Sounds logistically sound and transitionally simple -- to my simple non-expert self.

Posted by: Denis Drew | Sep 20, 2007 10:20:14 AM

I don't think it's "going negative" to point out that Thompson's whole presentation is crap - "I'm in favor of choice" (sorry, can't duplicate the drawl, it's the Northerner in me) - jeebus, you idiot, tell the 47 million uninsured people about the "choices" they have in this "best healthcare system in the world."

I rarely feel this partisan, but jeez - what an asshat.

Posted by: weboy | Sep 20, 2007 10:22:04 AM

The Republicans will win on this issue against every plan but the Kucinich plan. Senator Clinton's plan involves a regressive mandate that actually makes things worse. The "choice" is a systematic imperative; which outrageously overpriced private insurance plan would you like to purchase? The government run portion of the plan will be uncompetitive, because insurers will siphon off the young and the healthy, forcing those on the government plan to subsidize the sick and the (moderately) old. Plus, these plans are the Democrats best offers! This won't get better in the general election; it would be worse.

Instead of "changing the game," or attempting to increase support for simple single payer health care, the non-Kucinich plans are ruining Democratic credibility on this issue. People don't want to be forced to buy private health insurance; they want to be able to go to the doctor without worrying about the cost. I don't understand why the wonks are oblivious to this.

Posted by: Father Figure | Sep 20, 2007 10:35:59 AM

Is Thompson going to be in character his whole campaign? I won't predict what will go over best with voters, but he is at least making himself an easy target for late-night parodies.

I felt embarrased just watching that.

Posted by: PapaJijo | Sep 20, 2007 10:55:55 AM

just watching this, i can foresee what the next months will be like.
this would have been an easier road with al gore at the head of the race.

the road to the election is going to be ugly and will take its toll on all of us.

Posted by: jacqueline | Sep 20, 2007 11:13:58 AM

It really is what I don't understand about Clinton's plan and others like it. I would love for someone to ask her about it sometime - not that they'd get an answer:

Why is it again that we are fighting the insurance companies for the right to subsidize them with taxes?

Perhaps there's a good reason but it escapes me.

Posted by: tatere | Sep 20, 2007 11:16:48 AM

Better by far would be for Democrats to affirmatively strike at the Right's incoherence on the issue.

Yes, it would be better. It would also be better for me be paid a million dollars a year to sit on my ass in my apartment, instead of having to drag my butt to an office for a small fraction of that amount.

Here in the real world, we know that "affirmatively striking" runs directly counter to Hillary's DLC-certified political instincts, and that her "defense" of her health care plan will consist of saying "I am NOT a socialist! Stop calling me that!"

Posted by: Uncle Kvetch | Sep 20, 2007 11:22:36 AM

I'm anti-Republican(Neo) as they come, but to deny that Hilary's plan has coercion at it's core is to say, up is down and black is white. Anti-Republican types should not feel compelled to engage in Orwellian speak just to support a candidate who is right-wing like Hillary* over somebody hard-right(neo) like Romney.

I can understand people choosing Hillary over somebody like Romney. Hey, if that is the only choice available and "serious people" in the press and blog world agree, then Hilary is clearly better, but let's not engage in our version of Kool-Aid drinking

Hillary is strongly supported by Murdoch and she revels in his support.

Birds a feather flock together...or do you think she is playing Murdoch for a fool?

Murdoch turned every one of his operations into right wing propaganda organ of the Republican party each is a place of work that is:




Did I mention Murdoch runs a right wing propaganda empire?


Posted by: S Brennan | Sep 20, 2007 1:11:24 PM

Someone on another thread questioned the constitutional authority of the federal government to force anyone to buy health coverage. It is not withholding the privilege of driving if you don't insure to cover damage you may cause. Hillary is quoted saying she had no penalty component in mind. She offered however that someday we might be asked to show proof of health insurance to get a job. :-O

Posted by: Denis Drew | Sep 20, 2007 3:03:51 PM

Father Figure is closest to the truth.

The problem with the Democrats attacking the Republicans on health care is that our candidates agree with the Republicans on the central premise that direct government payment for health care is a bad way to go (never mind Medicare and the VA) and that private sector insurance companies add something positive to health care (in the form of "choice" and "markets") rather than just siphoning off dollars.

Posted by: Dilan Esper | Sep 20, 2007 7:01:06 PM

It worries me a bit that Democrats spend so little time attacking the Right on...

Just "a bit?" The lack of any coordinated narrative whatsoever on any issue of import from this gelded caucus is rather central to our sorry predicament...

Posted by: Steve in Sacto | Sep 22, 2007 3:18:51 AM

I'm a Democratic and I don't think I am allergic to choice. Heck - I'm pro-choice when it comes to a woman's right to her own body. Fred? Are you pro-choice on THAT issue? There's an allergy here - it's the GOP allergy to basic honesty.

But notice the vehicle Fred was seen in? Not the red pickup truck but the back of a limo? Wow - his PR man sort of blew this one.

Posted by: pgl | Sep 23, 2007 6:18:29 PM

Thank you for blogging about Health Care Reform! The growing number of uninsured, now at over 47 million, the high cost of insurance and the release of the 2008 presidential candidates health care plans have brought the topic of health care reform to national headlines and prime time news.

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Outrageous Times is our monthly grass roots newspaper, dedicated to health care reform now and is distributed to over 20.0000 readers in Mercer County, WV and Tazewell, VA. The web site www.OutrageousTimes.org is a both a local and national health care resource. We would like to invite you and your readers to submit your stories, experiences, observations and opinions to OutrageousTimes.org. Comments posted on OutrageousTimes.org are often reprinted in the Outrageous Times.

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Brenda Turner
Outrageous Times

Posted by: Brenda Turner | Sep 27, 2007 5:39:33 PM

Here is a point most of the American people are missing when they advocate scraping our current system and instituting government sponsored health care. Further, it is a point that all of the presidential candidates are either missing or they are ignoring it.

Last year, health care claims in America totaled 2.3 trillion dollars. That's right, 2.3 trillion, exclusive of administrative costs. Claims are not going to decrease; they never have, they never will, not as long as the United States is the leader in developing ever better ways to treat illnesses and accidents; therefore, any government sponsored health care plan in the future will cost 2.3 trillion dollars, plus increasing health claim costs, plus administrative costs.

Where is the government going to get the money? New taxes, of course. Two point three trillion dollars in taxes and then some, and the 150 million working Americans won't be able to do a thing about it but pay and pay.

Keep our current system of choice and free markets. And, America, let's get healthier. Eat right. Lose weight. And here's where the government can do something positive: Ban the manufacture of tobacco products.

Posted by: L. Barnes | Oct 3, 2007 2:48:16 PM

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